“Color Is As Color Does” is an apt title for Phillis Ideal’s show at David Richard Gallery. An abstract painter who draws on many different styles of image making-from Modernism and Abstract Expressionism to Color Field and Minimalism- to create her own visual language, Ideal builds her paintings with both subtle and bold colors.
“My paintings contain two environments,” explains the southern New Mexico-born artist who divides her time between Santa Fe and New York City. “The big open spaces relate to New Mexico, while the compressed areas reflect New York City.”
Ideal, who spent her childhood in Roswell before enrolling in the University of New Mexico’s undergraduate fine arts program, moved to the Bay Area to pursue a master’s degree in art from the University of California, Berkeley. She had her first one-person show at the acclaimed de Young Museum while still in gradate school.
New York City beckoned Ideal in 1982. She became a member of the American Abstract Artists, an organization founded in 1936 by artist and educator Josef Albers to foster the development and acceptance of abstract art. As part of the group, she has shown her work in many NYC shows. Nineteen years ago she established a second residence in Santa Fe.
Ideal describes her paintings as both tangible and a catalogue of visual language. She enjoys working with layers of transparent and thick paint that can be applied with a brush or sprayed on canvas and panel.
The tightly-packed sections of her paintings are constructed with a collage material made by applying paint to mylar (thin polyester film). “The act of putting paint on mylar is like an improvisational exercise for me,” she adds. “Collage helps create a layered feeling in my paintings.”