Phoenix Ascending, a five-color lithographic print from 1985, represents Wells' interpretation of the mystical bird from Egypt who, every five centuries, is consumed in fire by its own actions and rises in youthful freshness from its own ashes. The print has a dense, richly worked surface that has been skillfully built up by successive layers of ink. The flatness and expressionist energy of the work has been achieved by the use of bold, vigorous lines. Yellow, the predominant color, is used to signify chaos on the left and rebirth on the right of the Phoenix. Directly below the talons of the Phoenix two human figures run away from the flames to the calm of the right side. The artist leaves it up to the viewer to decide if the human figures make it to safety.
—From Brandywine Workshop and Archives records
James Lesesne Wells was a painter and printmaker born in Atlanta, GA. He began his college studies at Lincoln University, PA, and then transferred to Columbia University, New York City, where he majored in art. He taught clay modeling, ceramics, s...Read More ⟶