Terrell James, a well-known Texan contemporary artist, paints the natural world through her own unique abstract lens. Her work emerges from her close attention to organic form; her process mirrors its emergence in the landscape and in nature. Although they interpret rather than depict the landscape, the organic shapes of her works allude directly to their origins in plants, animals, fossils and glaciers. James’s expressions of her ‘familiar obsessions’ flow automatically from the subconscious as her works unfold.


"Imagery is abstracted from particular places, or objects I have seen. I am trying to paint, draw and sculpt the essence of my experience, to share it in paint through light and color" 

Most striking about James’s works, both on canvas and on paper, are her explorations of colour and her invention of original hues to reflect her subjects. The inner radiance she generates through adding, taking away and layering her pigments is inherent in everything she makes. The imaginative openness of her practice, with its layering of new visions over traces of previous inventions, invites repeated encounters. Seeing her work is, in itself, a form of introspection as new associations arise in this continuing process of interpretation. Complex yet harmonious, James creates open paintings that offer the viewer the freedom to perceive. 

Studio shots

Working from her studio in her hometown of Houston, Texas, she produces both intimate canvases and vigorous mural-scale works in oil. James has been included in over two hundred group shows and has completed over fifty solo exhibitions across the world. Her work is included in many museum collections, including: The Boston Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2013, she was awarded the Design Award in Art by the Decorative Center of Houston. In 2016, she was named Texas Artist of the Year by the Art League Houston. She has been represented by Cadogan in London since 2015.


1978-79         School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 
1973-77 BA Fine Arts, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee (Graduated Magna Cum Laude with departmental honors, Phi Beta Kappa) 
1973 Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
   Print Annex, Ignacio Ramirez Cultural Center, Instituto de Belles Artes, Universidad de Mexico, San Miguel de  Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
1972-73 School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 


Selected Solo Exhibitions
2023 'Trust', Cadogan Gallery, London, UK
  'Story', Froelick Gallery, Portland, USA

'One Eye Sees, the Other Feels', Mobile Museum of Art, USA

2021 'Second Sight', Cadogan Gallery, London, UK 

'Bright Shores', Josh Pazda Hiram Butler, Houston, USA


'Painting From Here', Barry Whistler, Dallas, USA


'Terrain', Cadogan Contemporary, Hampshire, UK


'Between Land and Water', Froelick Gallery, Portland, USA


'Circle of Intimates, Jason McCoy, New York, USA

2020   'Terrell James: Break In to Enter', Jason McCoy, New York, NY
2016 'Hover, Terrell James, Texas Artist of the Year Exhibition', Art League Houston, Houston, TX
2011 'Terrell James: Field Study', May – October, The Cameron Art Museum,  Wilmington, NC
2002 Casa de Chavon, Fundacion Centro Cultural, Santo Domingo, DR
1991 'The Lure of Things That are Seen and Heard', C.G. Jung Center, Houston, TX


Selected Group Exhibitions

Miart Art Fair, Milan, Italy


'The Marzio Years: Transforming the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1982-2010', Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

2020 'Texas Women: A New History of Abstract Art', San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX
2018   'Contemporary Artists in Houston from the Collections of William J. Hill and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston', Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, curated by Pete Gershon
2006 'Houston Contemporary', Museum of Shanghai, China

'Abstract Paintings', Heritage Gallery, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank Building, Houston, TX

1999 'Sensibilities: From Representation to Abstraction', Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong, China
1994 'Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection', Centro Cultural-Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, DF


Grants, Commissions, and Residencies
2011 Residency Fellow, Bald Head Island, NC Galaxy Hotel, Macao, China; Commissioned paintings, private and public spaces
2010 Visual Arts Fellow, Edward F. Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY
2009 Azuma Robata Grill and Sushi Bar, Houston TX; Commissioned mural 
  Sands Hotel, Macao, China; Commissioned paintings, private and public spaces 
  Gensler Architects, Houston; Installation: One Mural, One Painting
2008 Texan-French Alliance for the Arts, TFAA Art Recognition Award
2007 Avant Garden, Houston; Installation wall The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas and White Plains, N.Y.; Commissioned paintings, private suites and residences
2003-4           Hilton Americas, Houston; Commissioned paintings, entrances and lobby

Gensler Architects, Dallas; Installation of “Archaic Figures, 1 and 2”


1986-87 Cultural Arts Council of Houston, Creative Artist Program Award; selection committee: Sam Gilliam, Neil Printz, and Linda Shearer
1980 Houston Festival, three month installation, Sailpiece, 180 x 60 x 35’ hanging construction using construction safety netting with fireproofing sheets and spinnaker sails


Museum and Foundation Collections     

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas

Menil Collection, Houston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum of the University of the South, Sewanee, TN

Portland Art Museum, OR

Whitney Museum of American Art

Galaxy Macao Resort Hotel, China

Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Dallas and White Plains, NY

Sands Hotel, Macao, China