Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ella Alluisi (1912-1996) --- Day 2/42

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 Blocks and teach yoga class
Resurrection, 1954, gouache, 9 1/2" x 7"

Still placing my new K. Libbey Nash's, and in so doing I'm spending time with a few Ella Alluisi watercolors I've owned quite a while and still love. 

Ella Wharton Alluisi was an amazing, adventurous, pioneering woman artist. Although born in Houston, she spent most of her artistic life in Northern California and the Caribbean. Known for her modernist painting, as well as her equally adept sculptures and collage work, she often painted whimsical still lifes with fantastic animals and imaginary creatures in outlandish colors.

Googling her I see the skimpy biographical information on her is actually from the little brochure I produced when managing the Jan Holloway Gallery.  It was written in connection with the show the gallery gave Ella January 8- February 2, 1991.   

I will quote myself and Ella's letters to the gallery from the booklet Ella Alluisi - Paintings & Watercolors:

To see Ella Alluisi's painting is to smile and return briefly to one's childhood fantasy world where animals can look human and humans can assume unearthly forms. Her work captures this optimistic  freeform, transformative energy .  Alluisi's artistic goal was to depict the "one-ness of spirit" which she believes dwells within all things This harmony is especially reflected in her bold palette of subtle tonal changes. 

Paris in the mid-1930's was for the young Alluisi a time of tremendous personal and artistic growth.  There her artistic aims were engendered and developed by early studies with the noted artist and teacher, Sonia Delaunay.  Delaunay's students were encouraged to "communicate with one's deeper self...releasing the spontaneous sources of self-expression lying within each of you..." These ideas found fertile ground in Alluisi's natively optimistic personality.

In Paris Alluisi met her future husband and lifelong companion, Jean.  Together they traveled extensively, living in various locations here on the West Coast of California and in the Caribbean, where there was always more than enough inspiration for her creative energies.

Painting in a strong poetic metaphor that translated perceptions into a visual language of warmth and intelligence, Alluisi celebrates acceptance and joy in all that life brings.  With pleasure we now present a collection of works by this artist who saw grace and beauty always around her.

I would add now that the yogini and yoga teacher in me must have resonated with Ella's philosophy and life view even then.

Hornblowers, 1944, watercolor, 10"x12"

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