A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair

A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair

Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University

Tula Telfair, Civilization Could Not Do Without It, 2014. Oil on canvas, 75 x 100 inches. Photo: Paul Horton.
September 12, 2014
A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair

September 16–December 7, 2014

Opening: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 5–6:30pm,
with a talk at 5:30pm

Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
Wesleyan University
283 Washington Terrace
Middletown, CT
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday noon–5pm


Exhibition to feature eleven 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.

A World of Dreams: New Landscape Paintings by Tula Telfair, featuring eleven 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 Sunday, December 7. 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, 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 at 2pm in CFA Hall, located at 287 Washington Terrace. There will be a panel discussion about the exhibition on Tuesday, September 30, at 4:30pm in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. The opening reception, artist talk, and panel discussion are free.

Tula Telfair is a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at Wesleyan University, 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 BFA as a W.W. Smith Foundation Fellow from Moore College of Art in 1984, and earned an MFA 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.

Tula Telfair’s paintings are 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.

While seven 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.

The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is a perfect venue to view Ms. Telfair’s landscapes. The distinctive space inspired her to highlight the physical contrasts of our planet with this new body of work.

The exhibition is co-sponsored by Wesleyan University’s Department of Art and Art History and the Office of Academic Affairs. There will be an exhibition catalogue featuring an essay written by Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth.

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

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.

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Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University
September 12, 2014

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