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on Jun 20, 2021 in | Comments Off on Della Wells

(Click to Enlarge)
Pastel on Paper
xx x xx inches
Signed Wells 95 lower left
Chicagoland origin.

Della Wells was born in 1951. Though she attended college, Wells is a self-taught artist. Wells began drawing and painting seriously at the age of 42. Since then she has created more than 2,000 images in various media.

In 2004, Wells founded the artists’ advocacy group, ABEA (African American Artists Beginning To Educate Americans About African Art). In 2002, she began to curate exhibitions. Along with David Smith, she has curated exhibitions such as Sister Stories, Yearning For the Sea: The Inner Voyage of Folk Art and Wisconsin Visions: A Journey of Self-taught, Outsider and Folk Art In Wisconsin.

Wells has seen her work exhibited throughout the United States, had pieces of her work included in several art books, and is included in more than 100 private and corporate collections. She has taught art and given workshops to children, recovering women and mentally challenged adults. She has also been commissioned to design cultural specific therapy cards for the Counseling Center. The Medical College of Wisconsin and a logo for the YWCA’s program for the homeless women in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Peltz Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin represents Della Wells.

“Don’t Tell Me I Can’t Fly: Folk tales by Della Wells” Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee May 10- July 9, 2006. In this exhibition, Wells presents folktales with each piece of artwork, adding to the narrative components of her work. She uses her artwork as an extension of her long commitment to storytelling and folklore. Wells’ imaginative and colorful collages, pastels, drawings, dolls and quilts bespeak the nature of the struggle of seeking self-actualization and community as both a women and an African American. Her studies in sociology, African American and women studies also shape much of the content of her work.

As a child, Wells created characters and stories as a means to entertain herself. Well’s mother embellished these tale with her own childhood experiences, growing up in North Carolina during the roaring twenties and the Great depression. Her Folktales reflect both o f these experiences and through them she defines her family’s history and her own identity.

Wells feels strongly that “being a master of your spiritual self doesn’t come until you understand from where you came.” Often she incorporates her own folklore in her work. For Wells, folklore is a powerful tool to explore the historical, social, political and economic complexities and implications of the modern African American woman living in America. It can be used to explore how these factors influence African American women and their inner selves. Della Well’s work is in the collection of the Hurn Museum of Contemporary Folk Art. The Peltz Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin also represents Della Wells.

Source: artnet.com