Cheryl Telford

abstract artist

Inner Idea Artists Featured at New Exhibit at Montserrat Contemporary Art

By Marie R. Pagano, Gallery & Studio, Nov/Dec 2013/Jan 2014

Cheryl Telford displays brushwork akin to Mark Tobey's and has incorporated elements of Color Field painting into her work -- her imagistic sparseness evokes cosmic spaces in her composition of spattered, ethereal forms set within a brilliant red expanse.


Inner Idea Artists Invoke the Spirit of Kandinsky at Montserrat Contemporary Art

By Maurice Tapplinger, Gallery & Studio, November/December 2011 and January 2012

Cheryl Telford, a Washington State artist, shows a kinship with Mark Tobey's "white writing" in her energetic calligraphic abstractions. Bold sinuous strokes, often monochromatic in the Asian tradition, lend Telford's paintings an engaging gestural grace.
The feeling that one comes away from this strong group exhibition in which each artist reveals a distinctive aesthetic identify as they rally around a common cause may be a nascent movement...


Tension Meets Harmony in Cheryl Telford's Abstractions

By Peter Wiley, Gallery & Studio, January/February 2009

Gesture and texture serve the paintings of Cheryl Telford exceptionally well, both separately and together, in her exhibition at Montserrat Contemporary Art Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, which continues through February 14.
Gesture alone is the principle force behind some works, in which black strokes dance gingerly against generous expanses of white ground, accented here and there with just the faintest touches of red or blue applies in the technique known as "dry brush". These works have an exuberant grace akin to Asian calligraphy, although, wisely, Telford makes no attempt to imitate the forms of that venerable traditional art, as some Western "Orientalist" are wont to out of misguided enthusiasm for its superficial characteristics. Rather, like Franz Kline, Mark Tobey, and other savvy American predecessors, she adopts some of it s techniques to her own purposes without perverting its cultural origins.
The resulting painting have something in common, as well, with the monochromatic ink paintings of the French poet / artist Henri Michaux. Only, Telford apparently arrives at her private alphabet of symbols more in the playful, freewheeling manner of Miro, and without benefit of the mind altering substances that Michaux resorted to for his surrealist-influencing experiments. Indeed, Telford realizing in the bare essentials of these buoyant, economical works her stated ambition of "Creating a mark that exhibits life -- ambiguous, gestural, startling and confounding."
In some of her other compositions texture and color combine with gesture to create more layered and complex aesthetic expressions. One of the more richly worked up examples is "Untitled," a painting in a long, scroll-like horizontal format, its gemlike hues and rugged forms suggesting a mythic landscape. However, "Untitled" could also evoke all manner of other associations by virtue of pictorial tensions exemplifying the great Abstract Expressionist painter and teacher Hans Hofmann's famous credo of "push and pull" as the activating force of successful abstract composition. But what we see in this painting primarily is energy unleashed to a dynamic degree, yet ultimately controlled by the artist's authoritative command of form and color. Here, too, the gestural vigor displayed by Telford recalls Jackson Pollack's ability to create what his friend the poet Frank O'Hara once described as "an infinitely extensible field of force."
By contrast a stately stillness often characterizes the works that Cheryl Telford conceives as triptychs, in which each of the three panels could stand handsomely as separate compositions, although they gain even more power in relation to one another. In "Triptych 1," subdued earthy tones are combined with gold and silver metallic pigments applied in thick impasto to all three panels to create bold shapes that could either suggest primitive symbols or ancient armor lined up frontally in a row. The impression, in any case, is of impregnable strength, elegantly arrayed.
In "Triptych 2," much brighter hues and freer, lighter gestures lend the compositions of all three panels in lively sense of movement that intriguingly contradicts the crusty thickness of the paint surface. While the shapes delineated in luminous yellows, blues, and purples flow cursively within the compositions side panels, a bold grid dominating center panel could suggest a "cabinet of wonders," given the mysterious forms arranged like small objects within its roughly geometric confines. All three panels, however, project the palpable, pulsing sense of energy that invariably makes Cheryl Telford's paintings so exciting to encounter. (Cheryl Telford's work is also included in the gallery's year-round salon exhibition.)