Terrell James’ abstract paintings and works on paper capture a private, internalized experience of nature, which draw on its vocabulary without trying to reflect it. There are no depictions of skyscapes, water or land and yet, each of James' compositions seems to render a unique place as it emanates a distinct atmosphere. They offer an impression of mood, a glimpse of the artist’s private resonance with her subject. It is an approach that is timeless and yet, honors a certain tradition of abstract painting. James moves between contemplations of smaller elements to macroscopic concepts. Her compositions navigate between concrete details and vast spaces. She understands open terrains as both something ephemeral yet graspable. In her work, we find them transformed into fluent abstract forms that seem forever shifting. Through James, the viewer gets to witness how almost vaporous, translucent veils of color can solidify quickly, amounting to dense opaque masses. These transitions can be subtle and succinct, at once puzzling and rendered with confident clarity.
Born in 1955 in Houston, TX, James has exhibited extensively in the United States, South America and Asia. Her work is part of the permanent collections at the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; the Menil Collection, Houston, TX; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Portland Art Museum, OR; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, amongst others.