Ellen Priest – Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song
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Philadelphia-area abstract painter Ellen Priest has used jazz as the subject for her layered, collaged paintings since 1990. Her most recent work is a series of experimental drawings based on student jazz compositions from Berklee's Global Jazz Institute. The artist's drawings and collages will remain on view on the third floor of the 7 Haviland Building until mid-August 2012.
Music is a constant in Priest's sources of inspiration. She's inspired by the rhythmic and harmonic structures in jazz and related African and Latin American music. Other main influences in her art include Abstract Expressionism, Cézanne's late watercolors, and Matisse's compositional structure, as well as her athletic pursuits, since her paintings are all about movement. Priest's favorite sports are balance sports, where motion depends on weight and balance being thrown off-center, often in response to terrain, like skiing.
Priest received her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School in 1977 with a dual concentration in Christianity and the Visual Arts.