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Ellen Priest
updated: 12/27/2012
website: www.ellenpriest.com
 
   
 
 
     
 
Artwork Title
art-medium
art-year
dimensions
Click thumbnails for full view:
 
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #19
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #10
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #5
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #24
Study c for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #22
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Study b for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Study a for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #17
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #18
Diptych in progress, layers drawn and roughed out, studies on floor in front: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #17/18
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #14
Study c for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #20
Study b for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #10
 
Portfolio Keywords:  abstract, collage, gestural, process
 
 
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #19 by Ellen Priest
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #19
Flashe and pencil on paper
2011
30 " x  47 " 
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #10 by Ellen Priest
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #10
Flashe and pencil on paper
2011
30 " x  30 " 
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #5 by Ellen Priest
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #5
Flashe and pencil on paper
2011
30 " x  47 " 
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #24 by Ellen Priest
Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #24
Flashe and pencil on paper
2011
30 " x  30 " 
Study c for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #22 by Ellen Priest
Study c for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #22
Gouache on rag paper
2008
42" x  42" 
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23 by Ellen Priest
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Gouache on rag paper
2008
42 " x  42 " 
Study b for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23 by Ellen Priest
Study b for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Gouache on rag paper
2009
42" x  42" 
Study a for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23 by Ellen Priest
Study a for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Gouache on rag paper
2009
42" x  42" 
Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23 by Ellen Priest
Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #23
Papers, oil, flashe, MSA gel
2010
42" x  42" 
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #17 by Ellen Priest
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #17
Gouache on rag paper
2009
42" x  42" 
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #18 by Ellen Priest
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #18
Gouache on rag paper
2009
42" x  42" 
Diptych in progress, layers drawn and roughed out, studies on floor in front: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #17/18 by Ellen Priest
Diptych in progress, layers drawn and roughed out, studies on floor in front: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #17/18
Papers, pencil, gouache, flashe
2010
46 " x  98 " 
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #14 by Ellen Priest
Study for front layer: Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #14
Gouache on rag paper
2008
42" x  42" 
Study c for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #20 by Ellen Priest
Study c for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #20
Gouache on rag paper
2009
42" x  42" 
Study b for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #10 by Ellen Priest
Study b for Jazz: Edward Simon's 'Venezuelan Suite' #10
Gouache on rag paper
2006
42" x  42" 

Artist Statement

Today my artwork balances directly on the border between painting and sculpture.  I push hard on two pairs of opposing concepts – reality and illusion, and 3-D and 2-D – in all combinations.  The goal is to set up a vibrant dialogue between imaginary deep space in my pictures and their immediate presence as physical objects.  Both are equally real to me, the movement between them carrying the joy and energy I feel.

 

For a more thorough view of my artwork’s roots in Cezanne’s late oils and watercolors and in Abstract Expressionism, and more about my studio process,  please see www.ellenpriest.com (HISTORY and STUDIO).

 

Drawing has been a key player throughout my thirty years in the studio, both for creating imagery and for transforming raw forms into finished compositions.  To me, drawing is the thinking-out-loud of art whether I’m drawing with a pencil, several wide brushes clamped to a board, or my scissors.

 

Since 1990 my subject matter has been jazz – a musical counterpart to the visual experience I try to set up in my work.  Each series uses a single jazz composition.  I listen extensively, study the score, and create my forms with abstract-expressionist brush drawings.  They’re painted in batches, with the music playing to keep me close to the specific rhythms and sounds.  Brush studies act as the first critical translation from the movement of music to that of visual art.

 

My compositional process is one of “choreographing” the brush studies.  Drawing re-enters when I trace, transfer and redraw images onto final sheets of paper, often repeating forms according to specific measures in the jazz score.   I draw again during the very last stage of work, using my scissors or a mat knife to strip away excess paper and set the painting in motion.

 

“Jazz: Edward Simon’s ‘Venezuelan Suite’ #1-23”  is a four-year body of work completed in May 2010 – 23 large paintings, including three diptychs, and roughly 120 brush studies.  The brush drawings spanned 2006 to mid-2009.

Artist Bio / CV

EDUCATION

 

Master of Divinity, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT.  l977.  Christianity and the Visual Arts: Interdisciplinary Program in Collaboration with Yale School of Art.

 

Bachelor of Arts, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI.  l972

 

AWARDS

Delaware Division of the Arts 2012 Established Artist Fellowship

Delaware Division of the Arts Opportunity Grant 2010

Pollock-Krasner Foundation  2007

Pollock-Krasner Foundation  2001

 

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS/PROJECT

 

Delaware Division of the Arts Gallery.  Solo exhibition.  Wilmington DE.  March 2013.

Cuban Art Space, New York NY 2013.  New project with Cuban percussionist Arturo Stable and Cuban pianist Elio Villafranca.

 

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

(Solo unless noted)

“Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song”  Joint painting/jazz project with Berklee College of Music Boston MA  Exhibition 2012.  Residency 2010        

“Improvising on Jazz: Ellen Priest’s Paintings on Collaged Paper.” Yale Institute of Sacred Music, New Haven CT.  2012

“Jazz: Improvisations on the ‘Venezuelan Suite’” Delaware Division of the Arts. Wilmington, DE 2010

“SPECTRUM: Contemporary Color Abstraction”  DE Center for the Contemporary Arts,

Wilmington DE. 2010.  Group show curated by Carina Evangelista.

“Jazz Paintings on Paper: Improvisations on ‘The Venezuelan Suite’”  The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville PA.  2007

“The Jazz Series: Paintings on Paper”  The Dupont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and Carspecken Scott Gallery, Wilmington DE  2006

“Jazz: Paintings on Paper”  The Alva Gallery, New London CT  2004

“Jazz: The Brubeck Series”  Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr PA  2003.  In conjunction with performance by Dave Brubeck and Singing City Choir.

 

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

 

Agnes Gund, New York NY

Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville PA

Alva Greenberg, CT

Pfizer Corporation, New London CT

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Philadelphia PA

 

REVIEWS

 

Victoria Donohoe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 23, 2010 and January 28, 2007.