Words by Katie Farley
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, abstract artist Isabella Innis illustrates her works on paper and canvas while investigating her affiliation with youthful scenes, motifs, and emotions. Isabella’s paintings evoke an amalgam of sentimental, playful, and frequently joyous expressions of grief and happiness in equal measures. Innis’s works can be seen currently on display at FF-1051 Galleries amid the artist’s exhibit entitled Notes on Nostalgia.
Major, Minor, Ticking Timer
As spectators explore the display, expressive color grades contrast with geometric arrangements and turbulent charcoal lines, which encircle everyday items such as a houseplant, a banana, a hopscotch path, and a game of checkerboard – uniting the universal to the personal across displays of color, line, and shape.
Before the TV Turned to Color
Malibu and Marlboros
“I hoped the inclusion of these figurative elements would allow viewers unable to connect with abstraction to engage more easily, though the pieces appearing purely abstract were filled with the same conceptual themes,” explains Innis. “The tropical color palette was largely inspired by my infatuation with Eastern Africa- a place littered with memory from my frequent trips there over the last six years. The color gradations from light to dark represented the span of time – beginning, middle, end.”
As an artist, Innis delivers a unique viewpoint informed by her past. “Many of my conceptual contemplations are caused by my exposure to living in cities across the States, the UK, Europe, and Africa. Processing the effects of my childhood in relation to encounters I’ve had abroad has contributed to an unresolved questioning and curiosity that fuels my work. Some themes my paintings explore are local and socioeconomic differences, mobility, Westward expansion, and the birth lottery.”
Formula of the Pink Medicine
Signatures in Subway Systems
Having always painted in an abstract form, Innis has since evolved her artistic style to pursue figurative work. Yet, she still wants her aesthetics to embody a somewhat unpolished and imprecise appearance. Intentions are to expose unfinished sections of the canvas, with areas featuring visible pencil sketching, bare facial features, and untidy paint stokes. Components that visually intrigue Innis the most are the arrangement of abstraction with fragments of figurative rudiments – the collocation of the two opposites is what she finds most compelling.
Tanks of World War II
The imperfect look of Isabella Innis’s paintings possesses a sense of anonymity and curiosity that acquires closer inspection and illustrates an element of mystery.