"Spirit Not in Flight," 1994, is a pastel work by Della Wells. The work depicts a nude black woman looking out from the picture, meeting the viewer's gaze. She is wearing a skull necklace and is holding an apple. A cardinal sits on her back. She appears to be in an abstracted garden or forest-like setting. The woman is an Eve figure, blamed for the sins of mankind.
Artwork Size: 15"x22"
Frame Size: 22"x29"
Born in 1951, Della Wells grew up in Milwaukee. As a child and young person, she did not want to become an artist but a storyteller; to this day she considers herself to be a “visual storyteller.” She sold her first work of art at age 13, but she did not begin working as an artist until she was 42. She has said, “I didn’t do anything for a long time, because I didn’t think I had anything to say. You can draw, you may know how to do things technically, but I think to be a true artist you have to have something to say. You have to have a vision.” Her creative process stems from her personal experiences and her works are often inspired by her troubled childhood. Known for her collages, drawings, dolls, paintings, and pastels, Wells creates a magical land called “Mambo” populated and ruled primarily by black women. Wells is self-taught and her work has been successful in “outsider art” venues, including the Outsider Art exhibition in New York. Wells’ art is exhibited in more than 100 private and public collections. Her work was purchased by the Smithsonian. Her collages are sold at the National Museum of African American History and culture.