From the Permanent Collection: Phillis Ideal

From the Permanent Collection: Phillis Ideal

December 2022

American artist Phillis Ideal (born New Mexico, 1942) paints large-scale canvas that simultaneously convey abstract interpretations of her native southwestern vistas as “expansive gestural space” and “tightly packed” renditions of the vitality found in the city of New York, her home since 1982.*

Paint functions as both material and expressive force in Juarez/Canal Street (1988). Vibrant color and evocative shapes rendered with broad brush strokes draw viewers into dialog with the artist about the function of environment and geography in the human experience.

Ideal received her Master’s in Fine Arts in the 1970s from University of California, Berkeley. She studied under Elmer Bischoff, (1916–1991) who with Richard Diebenkorn and David Park founded the Bay Area Figuration, a movement which blended narrative and abstract expressionism. Ideal taught painting at University of California Berkeley, San Francisco State, Sarah Lawrence College, University of New Mexico, and Brooklyn Museum, and was shown at twenty solo and numerous group exhibitions. Juarez/Canal Street (1988) from the Morris Museum permanent collection was exhibited in “The Collected Century: 1900–2000.”

This exhibition was curated by Michelle Graves, Assistant Curator, with Emily Rainbolt and Emma Bryer, Curatorial Interns.

* Read more about the artist at her website.

Artwork Caption: Phillis Ideal (b. 1942), Juarez/Canal Street, 1988. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Morris Museum, 94.4. Gift of Marilyn Wolff.

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