Press Release
For Immediate Release: 10/21/04
For information contact: Corrine Jennings (212) 674-3939


From October 25 to December 18, 2004, the Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba is pleased to present the exhibition CHANCE AND OTHER MUSINGS, an exhibition of new work by Joyce Wellman. The exhibit features acrylic canvases and panels, related drawing, and one of kind monotypes. These works, completed between 2001 and 2004, are explorations of surfaces, space and significant geometric forms.

In a painterly discourse, Wellman has simplified the planes, which the shapes--familiar in her work of several years--influence. Embedded in some of the surfaces, unexpected, collaged elements serve as locators and cultural markers; and numeric markings become superimposed overlays against a matrix of rich, loosely brushed, transparent color from which she extracts reflected light. Wellman's intuitive approach to color and form allows her to improvise within formal compositions and to suggest a flowing, luminous flux.

The numerical signs provide clues to some sources of Wellman's work. She remembers her mother regularly playing bolita, a popular, urban gambling game that was a precursor to the New York State lottery. While some early figurative paintings paid tribute to her mother, as Wellman matured as an artist, her artistic content became both archetypal and abstract. In Wellman's aesthetic journey, the literal ritual of numeric codes is transposed into a sensibility that combines philosophical principles of sacred geometry and archetypal representations of the Mother Goddess—earth principle. She says that the symbolic imagery in her visual vocabulary "aligns to the non-material, soul force in life."

Initially, Wellman's paintings, like The Terrible Threes, resonate with arcane literary references, but they reveal themselves through the familiarity of Arabic numerals and strong, gestural markings that are integral in her work. Gradually there is recognition that she has joined the sacred and the profane, the material and the ethereal. Thus, with mystery and metaphysics as sources, she embraces a sensibility relating to universal principles and extends a dialogue incorporating numerous subsequent levels of interpretation.

Joyce Wellman, a native New Yorker, was educated at the City College, CUNY, and received an MFA from the Maryland Institute of Art. She has won numerous Grants and Fellowships including a Ford Foundation study grant and residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya. Her work is in the Evans-Tibbs Collection, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Paul R. Jones Collection at the University of Delaware, and numerous corporate and private collections.

Opening Reception, Sunday, October 24, 3 - 6 pm
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm
Gallery location: 219 East 2nd Street at Avenue B

Kenkeleba programs are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs and many generous friends.