Tula Telfair

Artist's Statement - Telfair

I make large oil paintings that combine images of epic landscape and dramatic weather with minimal elements of pure color. All the images are invented, and come purely from memory, not from observing a site, or utilizing photographic aids. Although many of the required elements of the sublime are present, placing the work within the Romantic landscape tradition, I employ devices that remind the viewer that these are simply paintings; two-dimensional surfaces covered with paint. Typically, several edges of the single-image paintings will be bordered with different colored stripes, while the multi-image works may include wider panels of pure color that separate the landscape images themselves. The colors used come directly from the image they surround. These lines and panels appear to shift their color as they come in direct contact with the landscape, and can make one edge of the canvas appear to be closer to the viewer than another. Even though the images may appear familiar, using titles like, Debating the Precise Nature of Space or The Power of Interacting Volumes, distances them from association with any particular place, affording the viewer the opportunity to recall a personal experience. While maintaining an awareness of the material object, the depicted epic moments in nature, generally facilitate an emotional response. I am interested in the subjectivity of perception and the power of memory, using illusion to trigger recollections of things past.

About the Artist

Tula Telfair is a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and lives and works in New York City. Born in Bronxville, NY in 1961, she grew up in Africa, Asia and Europe before settling in the United States. She received her BFA from Moore College of Art in 1984, and earned an MFA in 1986 as a Graduate Fellow from Syracuse University. She has work in collections around the world, and has shown extensively in one-person and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Her work is in the public collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Redding Art Museum, General Electric Corporation, The Federal Reserve Bank, MasterCard Corporation, Deloitte Touch, Cable Vision, Brauerei Beck and Company to name a few. She is represented by Forum Gallery in New York City.

Tula in the Studio