Circular swirls indicate breasts, and scribbled ovals are eyes within Ellie Ali’s minimalist renderings of the human body. The self-taught artist seems to rely more on intuitive strokes than precision or intricacy, and it’s those sweeping shapes that impart her characters — born from layers of Chinese ink, tempera, oil pastels, acrylics and graphite on fine paper — with their own vitality. Over decades of traveling and selling her artwork, Ali withheld certain paintings from being sold or publicly viewed. These unreleased selections, created from 1997 to now, “represent a visual journey of her life,” according to a media release. “Each are memories along the way, presenting the arc of her career and provoking a range of emotions.” American Folk Art will exhibit the collection, titled Memoirs, through Wednesday, Aug. 24, with an opening reception on Friday, Aug. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. Free. amerifolk.com. Image courtesy of the artist
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