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Phyllis Bryce Ely

Phyllis Bryce Ely
Benson Road Afire in October, oil on canvas
Whether landscape or still-life, the work of Phyllis Bryce Ely appeals to us by its simplicity and directness. We need not struggle to comprehend its meaning, and its meaning is uplifting. Yet the simplicity is in the effect, not in the means used to achieve it. The artist adopts techniques from several artistic traditions to create her uniquely fresh manner. The flat construction, the simple forms, and the all-over composition give her landscapes the air of innocence which we associate with the Naive or Primitive style. On the other hand, bold brush strokes, the broad application of pigment and the separation of hue suggest the method of the plein-air painter, for whom speed is necessary to capture the light and atmosphere of the moment. These give the work its life and spontaneity.

Phyllis Bryce Ely
Poppy, Mango, and Hannah's Bowl,
pastel, 44 "x30"

Ely's landscapes are rooted in specific places and times, so much so that we forget that they communicate as much by ideogram as by actual representation. Small conical forms are trees, while the large rounded triangles are hills. Horizontal bands of white are clouds, while the source of light is indicated by the blockish "shadows" behind the lighter objects. In each case, the artist supplies only the information necessary to evoke a mood or suggest a topography. And this is the fundamental strength of her style: viewers can never escape some responsibility for the outcome. We are asked to complete the scene - to round out the emotional edges - from our personal reserves of memory and imagination.

Phyllis Bryce Ely earned her Bachelor of fine Arts degree with high honors from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has exhibited her paintings and pastels in invitational and one-man shows in Rochester, New York City and Nantucket. Her work is included in many public and private collections, such as Xerox Corporation, Rochester Community Savings Bank, Mobil Chemical Corporation, and Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company. She lives in Penfield, New York, with her husband and daughter.

Meatballs, encaustic on canvas

Alhambra Over Granada, oil on canvas

Alhambra Hillside, oil on canvas

Sandy Over Lake Ontario, oil on canvas

Phyllis Bryce Ely
Canandaigua Moon and the Willow, pastel on canvas

Phyllis Bryce Ely
High Falls, November, oil on linen

Phyllis Bryce Ely
104 West, oil on canvas, 36"x36"

Phyllis Bryce Ely
Irondequoit Creek, oil on canvas


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