This and That: Stella Alesi and Henri Matisse

by Jessica Fuentes May 6, 2022

“This and That” is an occasional series of paired observations. See past “This and That” posts here. – Ed.

Today: Triptychs of organic forms

A drawing on paper of three green organic shapes.

Stella Alesi, “Trio,” 2021, oil, wax, and pencil on oil paper, 22.5 x 30 inches. Copyright the artist. Image courtesy of Artspace 111.


A stained glass window study featuring three yellow organic forms in front of a handful of blue-violet oval forms. There is a green background and on the left side is a vertical yellow rectangle.

Henri Matisse, “Stained glass window, study for ‘L’Arbre de vie,'” coloured, transparent and frosted glass set with lead. Musée Matisse, Nice. © Estate of H. Matisse, Photo: François Fernandez.



No matter how original, innovative or crazy your idea, someone else is also working on that idea. Furthermore, they are using notation very similar to yours. – Bruce J. MacLennan

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stella alesi May 8, 2022 - 14:44

So pleased to see the comparison – it stirs up emotions, gratefulness and worry.

When I think of Matisse in his older years, I think of him sitting in a chair with big scissors, cutting up paper. Nuns flitting about, placing cut-outs on paper per his directions. Perhaps, like me, as he aged his hands didn’t work as well and he adjusted his craft to accommodate his new situation. I imagine we both created similar shapes in our desire to communicate a general life form: a form that holds within it aliveness and growth.

I have gratitude to all the artists that have come before me. That have left for me a path to cross with – I am not alone . At nearly 59 years of age, and a longtime steady practice – I find myself finally feeling confident that I am a part of that story. Of course I worry that I am borrowing too much, and that -horrors of horrors!!!, (insert Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”- I am not original.

What I am is an artist, working, practicing, becoming – connected to all things.


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