Phifer, Priscilla – You Are Here #7
Artist: Priscilla Phifer
Description of piece: Inspired by early paintings by Charles Burwell, an African American, and Mark Rothko, who was a European American, both abstract expressionists. Rothko only painted cloud-like rectangles with soft edges; Burwell’s Afro-centric rectangles have hard edges.
Dimensions: 24″ wide x 36″ high x 1.5″ deep
Market Value: $950
Five years into my late life, accidental career, I still love to paint with a passion. I describe myself as an intuitive abstract expressionist who paints primarily without a brush. I scrape, splash, drip and drag using high-quality vibrant acrylic paints on canvas. Thinking I could not draw or do figurative paintings, I chose abstraction, which affords more freedom and flexibility than other traditional paint genres. However, I later discovered that I can also paint realistically from photos and I can use a brush! At this point, I prefer abstraction. Relying mostly on gravity and manipulation of the surface, I use household and hardware items to mix and blend vibrant hues. Somewhat color blind, this is a huge help.
My work shows influences of internationally acclaimed artists such as Charles Burwell, Sam Gilliam, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and other artists of the 1940s and 50s for their color-field and vibrant action painting. Their use of color is very appealing. I am also influenced by textiles, something that occurred to me only recently when unpacking boxes of my fabric collection and when reflecting on fabrics and yarns my creative mother used to sew, reupholster, knit and crochet.
I considered myself a professional painter in May 2015, when most of 30 paintings sold at my first solo pop-up exhibition at the Julian C. Madison Building in Detroit. I was 70 years old! Two more solos — one at MASH Detroit on the far east side of Detroit in 2016 and one at the Torch of Wisdom Foundation in Southfield in 2018 — yielded similar results. My passion continues. In 2020, an objective is to learn how to draw and to do some figurative paintings. Additionally, I am near completion of an art book featuring some collectors with the art they purchased, and I had to cancel my fourth solo show at the Torch of Wisdom Foundation Gallery when the Coronavirus pandemic occurred.
It is truly gratifying and humbling to know that collectors appreciate my work, and I am forever grateful.
Learn more: www.facebook.com/ArtbyPriscilla/