Telfair builds and frames her fictional visions with brilliant color that illuminates her enormous, active and unforgettable skies. Horizons are transitory spaces, alive with the intensity of reflected luminance; clouds are spectacular dramas, unfolding and revealing their tumescent stories.
A third element, the mountains, do not overwhelm or dominate the sky. Instead, they illustrate the harmony within nature, the dialolgue between its elements. In Tula Telfair’s paintings, there is the suggestion of what has happened or will happen, but rarely does she depict a major event outside of nature itself. These are judicious works, subtly modulating their way through the narratives they have to reveal. They do this with radiant light, color and palpable stillness. They communicate by combining stillness with motion, solitude with universality and definition with suggestion.
Since 1993, Telfair has been making polytychs by combining landscape panels with panels of pure color to investigate how we accumulate information, one image defining and informing another. All of her landscapes are fabricated in the studio from recollections of moments spent in nature, not from observed landscapes or photographs.
Tula Telfair spent her childhood in West Central Africa. A grant recipient and graduate of Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, she was a graduate fellow and received a Masters of Fine Art degree at Syracuse University. First employed as an instructor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, a few years later she became Chair of the Department of Art and Art History and then acting Dean of the school.