artist statement

I want my work to express spirit and beauty, to carry my political passions as a cry against injustice and to call for celebration of eros, the creative life force.

-Elly Simmons

        San Francisco Bay Area artist Elly Simmons (America, b. 1955) works with a wide variety of material, including paint, pastel, mosaic, and lithographic stone. Her concern with political and social issues such as the abuse of women, homelessness and the struggle of all peoples for lives of dignity are often merged in her work with fascinating expressions of deeply felt mythic and personal imagery.

Simmons exhibits internationally and has her work in numerous public and private collections, including The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Smithsonian Institution, The New York Public Library Department of Prints and Drawings, and the Washington Hebrew Congregation. Private collectors include The Packard Foundation, Robin Williams, Pete Seeger, Eduardo Galeano, Roselyn Swig, Gerald Davis and Rosalie Sorrells.

She has exhibited, and has works in collections in Russia, Poland, Japan, Ireland, Canada, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, and all across the United States.

State Gary Kamiya, of Image Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle:

"An artist who strives to address the problems of his or her time faces a tricky aesthetic balancing act. Explicitly political art often has all the depth and aubtlety of a megaphone exhortation. But at its' best, engaged art stirs both the soul and the mind, revealing the ineluctible connection between the world of the streets and the universe of the spirit, magicallyl embodying Keats' dictum that beauty is truth and truth beauty. Elly Simmons' work achieves this rare feat. It is an extraordinary blend of political passion; and artistic complexity. Her paintings wed medium and message perfectly, outrage never collapses into propaganda, nor does her work's dreamlike vitality, its' formal elegance, dilute its' fervor."

Words from Dublin, Ireland art critic, painter and music producer Gerald Davis:

"Joy", "celebration" and humour" are words that seem to be less and less used in the vocabulary of modern art. This is all the more reason that we should welcome the work of Elly Simmons. Her work is full of affirmation of life. Her paintings, graphics and tapestries bring vitality and colour whereever they are seen. Informed, since childhood, by studying the work of major Mexican, European and American artists, she takes her own experience of life in California, the climate, nearby Mexico, Central and South America, indigenous Northwest Native American art and her own Jewish culture and combines them to create her idiosyncratic vision. Art critic Harry Roche synthesized her work with the term "World Art Wave".

The accessibility of her work belies the technique that goes into making it. Whether she is using paint, designing tapestries or creating lithographs, she has mastered the craft she chooses to use. She has created her own iconography. For the children's book, "Just Like Me", when asked to explain to children what inspires her to paint, she states, "I paint my love of life! I paint pomegranates, birds,, mountains and people. I paint what gives me joy, or makes me sad or mad, I paint to protest homelessness, war and injustice, and to celebrate the beauty of a sunflower outside my door."

artist statement

To reach the artist, contact:
Elly Simmons, PO Box 463,
Lagunitas, CA 94938
(415) 488-4177
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