ALVA

Jazz: Recent Paintings on Paper by Ellen Priest

September 9 – October 15

Miles Davis, in the notes to the release of his album “Bitches Brew,” said that “jazz…[is] so many things to so many different people each apparently contradicting the other and one day I flashed that it was music. That’s all, and when it was great music, it was great art.” For Ellen Priest, jazz has indeed been the muse for making great art. Working in series which function likes riffs on a theme, Priest combines oil and flashe on collaged paper into works that evoke musical patterns of movement.

Two new series are represented in the current exhibition. The first is based on Gonzaguinha’s Tancara, a composition that deals with the relationship between Brazilian and African music. The second is titled Jazz: Herbie’s “Dolphin Dance.” Priest says this piece evoked the sensation of summers spent living at the beach. The music is lyrical, warm and gentle and reminded Priest of the waves she lives with. Both of these series present a softer palette, a departure from the primary colors that Priest previously concentrated on. The artworks on view range in size from 42” x 42” to 21” x 21”. For the first time, Priest will exhibit some of the drawings on which these works are based.

Ellen Priest earned her B.A. from Lawrence University followed by her Masters in Divinity from Yale in an interdisciplinary program with the Yale School of Art. She has received artistic grants and awards including the prestigious Pollock-Krasner grant in 2001. Priest has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is represented in the collections of Agnes Gund and BTG, Inc., among others. She has taught drawing and painting at Choate-Rosemary Hall, The Hammonassett School, the Concord Academy and the Ocean City Arts Center. Ellen Priest currently lives and works in Cape May, New Jersey.

Jazz Gonzaguinha 1, copyright 2004, oil and flashe on collaged paper, 42″x 42″

Jazz Gonzaguinha 2, copyright 2004, oil and flashe on collaged paper, 42″x 42″

 

Jazz Gonzaguinha 3, copyright 2004, oil and flashe on collaged paper, 42″x 42″

 

Jazz Gonzaguinha 9, copyright 2004, oil and flashe on collaged paper, 42″x 42″