October 27, 2023
Rendered in vivid shades of blue, pink, and orange, Yellena James’s unearthly organisms populate environments brimming with life. The Portland-based artist (previously) uses a mix of acrylic paints, gouaches, and inks to create precisely patterned compositions that take an otherworldly approach to creatures found on land and sea. Buoyant forms evocative of coral, kelp, and flowers overlap and collide on the canvas, adding density and texture to the majestic ecosystems.
The paintings shown here are on view now at Chefas Projects for James’ solo show Weightless, a title that alludes to both the lightness of the organisms and to the artist’s ability to reach a flow state. She explains:
In my work, I always strive to create a sense of levity on the canvas. I focus on environments that exist within alien atmospheres and forms that thrive within a diverse range of external forces… There is a moment that arises while making each piece when I can see the final steps clearly and the artwork begins to reveal itself. In those moments, every hint of pressure dissipates. It lifts. All of it. And I am weightless.
If you’re in Portland, you can see Weightless through November 18. Otherwise, keep up with James on Instagram.
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