Center For the Arts CFA

"A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair" in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery September 16 - December 5, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Friday, December 5, 2014

"A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair" in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery September 16 - December 5, 2014

Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery presents
A World of Dreams:
New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair

Tuesday, September 16 — Friday, December 5, 2014
Exhibition to feature twelve monumental landscapes and epic-scale vistas
inspired by memories, experiences living on four continents,
including a waterfall in Central Africa; and a recent trip to Antarctica


Middletown, Conn.—"A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair," featuring  twelve new large-scale paintings in which Tula Telfair presents monumental landscapes and epic-scale vistas that are simultaneously awe-inspiring and intimate, will be on view in the Main Gallery at Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, located at 283 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown, Connecticut, from Tuesday, September 16 through Friday, December 5, 2014. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 5pm. Gallery admission is free.

The public is invited to attend the opening reception on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 from 5pm to 6:30pm with a talk at 5:30pm in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. An artist talk by Ms. Telfair will take place on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 2pm in CFA Hall, located at 287 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. There will be a panel discussion about the exhibition on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 4:30pm in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. The opening reception, artist talk, and panel discussion are free.

"The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is delighted and honored to have the opportunity to debut the newest work of Wesleyan Professor of Art Tula Telfair," said Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts. "Her imagined landscapes are at once haunting and transporting. These large-scale and expansive works lend themselves to a gallery of Zilkha's scale, and we are excited to see the paintings together in the space for the first time."   

There will be an exhibition catalogue featuring an essay written by Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth.

The exhibition is co-sponsored by Wesleyan University's Department of Art and Art History and the Office of Academic Affairs. Please see below for more about the exhibition and the artist.

The gallery will be closed from Wednesday, November 26 through Monday, December 1, 2014 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In 2015, the works in the exhibition will travel, along with nine additional paintings, to the Louisiana Art & Science Museum in Baton Rouge, the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia, and ultimately to New York City, where Ms. Telfair is represented by Forum Gallery. Ms. Telfair's most recent solo exhibition of imaginary landscapes, "Out of Sight," took place in January and February 2012 at Forum Gallery.
 
About the Exhibition
Tula Telfair’s monumental landscapes and epic-scale vistas are awe-inspiring paintings and fully contemporary in their inspiration and execution, demonstrating the spirit and potency of the landscape painting genre adapted to a new century. Each image evokes a sense of wonder and calls attention to the power and fragility of the environment. Her work has been described as a meditation on the field itself, fueled by memories of her experiences living on four continents. In this exhibition, Ms. Telfair shares her private vision of the beauty and majesty of the natural world. More than a single moment in time, each scene is a continuum that develops a narrative of the past, present, and future, indicative of nature itself.

In her large oil paintings, Ms. Telfair explores diverse landscapes—from deserts and valleys to rainforest jungles and Antarctic glaciers. Her painting process is fluid and her images evolve organically, changing with the addition of multitudes of layers of paint over time. Nature’s ability to trigger emotions and memories informs Ms. Telfair’s actions as she builds and edits her images.  She says, “When a painting stops inviting me to make adjustments, I know it is finished. At that point, it becomes itself.” While eight of the landscapes originate from vague recollections and the vividness of Ms. Telfair’s imagination, four are responses to specific and actual experiences. Three are based on a trip to Antarctica that she took last winter; and one depicts a waterfall on the Ivindo River in Gabon, located on the west coast of Central Africa, where the artist spent much of her childhood. While startlingly realistic, these paintings are not necessarily factual depictions of the locations they represent. “The vegetation in the painting of the waterfall is informed by observing plants here in Lyme,” says Ms. Telfair. “It’s been such a long time since I was in Gabon, that my memory of it seems more like the feeling you have after a vivid dream.”

The grand and unique space of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is a perfect venue to view Ms. Telfair’s epic landscapes. In fact, this distinctive space inspired her to highlight the physical contrasts of our planet with this new body of work. “I consider this show site-specific,” she says. The works were tailored to take into consideration the powerful materiality of the limestone, concrete and glass walls that make up this beautiful gallery, as well as the varied extended distances from which viewers will approach the work.  Viewing distances of up to 90 feet will offer a shifting perspective and the paintings will appear to transform from photographic images to purely physical fields of paint. Ms. Telfair is excited to see the work hang on the limestone walls, further emphasizing the fragility and permanence of nature and the perpetual passage of time.

Ms. Telfair created these paintings at her new Connecticut studio, designed by Nathan Rich '02 and Miriam Peterson of the Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary design studio Peterson Rich Office. Completed at the end of 2013, the beautiful windowless workspace is flooded with daylight that cascades down from banks of skylights in the soaring ceiling. In this pristine space, Ms. Telfair created a body of work that documents her dreams and invites viewers to join her in contemplating the real physical world and the world of the imagination. She hopes that the atmospheric quality of her rugged and vast landscapes will draw her audience into each vista and trigger a thoughtful, emotional and visceral response. In her bold and quiet works, she combines stillness with motion, solitude with universality and definition with suggestion.

About Tula Telfair
Tula Telfair is a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and winner of the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Born in Bronxville, New York in 1961, she grew up in Africa, Asia, and Europe before settling in the United States. She received her B.F.A. as a W.W. Smith Foundation Fellow from Moore College of Art in 1984, and earned an M.F.A. in 1986 as a Graduate Fellow from Syracuse University. She has work in public collections around the world, and has shown extensively in one-person and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. She is represented by Forum Gallery in New York City and Los Angeles.

For more information about Tula Telfair, please visit http://www.tulatelfair.com.

A World of Arts in the Heart of Connecticut