Explain Things to Me is an environment populated by animate objects.
This installation combines recent theories of material agency with sculptural production, exploring ideas about how matter influences behaviour, politics and ethics. All the work is constructed entirely from salt dough, exploring material’s ability to ‘bring things down in the world’. Bodies, food, art works and tools are awkward, self-conscious objects, made from the same stuff, all part of a complex network of material exchange.
Material carries multiple layers of meaning simultaneously, combining personal experience, social genealogy, physical characteristics and theoretical references. It places the artist into the roles of prospector, engineer and researcher. Material has the capacity to democratise contemporary art, functioning as an access point between artist and viewer.
Ellie Barrett is a visual artist and practice-based researcher living and working in Lancaster. Her work examines the ways in which material manifests meaning in contemporary sculpture, observing its physical capabilities and its sociopolitical connotations. Currently, she is completing a PhD at Lancaster University which explores strategies towards ‘material literacy’ in contemporary art, generating an artist-led vocabulary for art theory. This project presents material as a means of democratically engaging with social and political narratives.
Recent exhibitions include More T’North (Harris Museum and Gallery, Preston), I Know That You Know (Wells Projects, London), General Store (Hewing Wittare, London) and Eminent Domain (ex-Robert Miller Gallery, New York).