Russell Ellison said he was done.
After his 2017, two-person exhibition with fellow artist Julia Six at The Center for Contemporary Arts, Ellison convinced himself that he wouldn’t have another art exhibition. The 84-year old artist says he’s lost track of how many exhibits he has participated in over the years, but 2021 marks his 20th year in Studio No. 1 upstairs at 220 Cypress St., and he shows no sign of stepping back from his artistic pursuits. He is a familiar, almost daily, presence at The Center, where he spends most mornings in his sunlit studio, creating and reimagining works of art.
Throughout his 20 years at The Center, Ellison cultivated a rich community of artists with whom he worked alongside for years. Ellison enlisted a small group of these creatives to participate in one more exhibit with him at The Center, a place that has become like a second home to many of them.
“When I said I was done, I realized as an artist, that you’re never done.” Ellison muses. “At 84 years old, I don’t get around as well as I used to, but my body is capable of creating work, so why not?”
In this spirit, he reached out to his friend and studio partner Anthony “Tony” Brown as well as fellow artists Sarabeth Clevenger, Linda Murray, Kathie Walker-Millar, and Larry Millar. Each of these artists has established themselves locally and regionally over the years and boasts impressive repertoires of artistic mastery, and involvement within the art community at large.
This exciting show will feature never-before-seen work specifically created for this exhibit. The Millars will create a number of 3-D pieces that exercise their collaborative and individual explorations of a variety of fascinating mediums and techniques, while the other artists will each create at least seven paintings or other 2-D works of art.
Entitled Coming of Age: 316 Years of Art, this exhibit highlights the collective years these artists have poured into their professional artistic practices. Ellison expressed his surprise at the sum total; Linda Murray has been an exhibiting artist for 43 years, Kathie Walker-Millar 45; Larry Millar, 47; Anthony Brown, 52: Ellison 56, and Sarabeth Clevenger, with her first exhibition at the age of 7, has been active for the past 73 years. In total, their careers add up to an impressive 316 years of art-making, which lead to the title of their exhibition.
“The idea for this show comes from my idea of trying to hang on to and live my life while I’m still in it. If I’m producing art, I’m still alive,” says Ellison.
Coming of Age: 316 Years of Art will be on exhibit in Gallery 3, upstairs at The Center for Contemporary Arts from May 27th through July 10th, 2021.
Contributed By The Center For Contemporary Arts