The strangely allied terms of signification and importance are explored in a major show of new work by artist Hilary Ellis. They are re-considered through a long-standing practice of pale and haunting works, which speak quietly of an enduring and persistent nature that dwells deep within the realm of women’s work and its futile repetitions. The nature of these discreet, yet insistent marks, scratches, and stiches in Ellis’ work appear as an overwhelming desire; signifying the chaos cloaked beneath every search for order.
Although these works are resonant of the predominantly muted and restricted palette of Agnes Martin, whose work has long been an inspiration to Ellis, her works, with their occasional shimmer of beadwork, with hints of rose, yellow, gold and silver, with residual inscriptions that are built upon obsessive mark-making, infer something of the unspeakable. Works like Enigma I, II & III, (Enigma II recently shown as part of the Jerwood Drawing Prize) transport the work beyond Martin, as they touch upon the concept of the Other in language and culture.
When is a work of art finished? At what point does one sense completion? Is this notion of a closing point just an arbitrary measure of all art? For Ellis the process is not determined by any logical stopping point and often does not coincide with the finishing of the work, but is determined by a casual choice. These questions are explored in an on-going practice that has spanned several decades since Ellis started working as an artist.
After completing a BA in Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University, Hilary Ellis was awarded a European Social Fund Research Fellowship in Drawing and Painting at St Helens' College. Ellis has exhibited widely in the North West of England, participating in group shows in Liverpool and Dublin, as well as a solo exhibition at Liverpool University Art Gallery as part of the first Liverpool Biennial. After completing her MA in printmaking at Camberwell UAL, Ellis now works from her home and studio in Kent. Ellis now exhibits her work in the UK and Internationally with her forthcoming solo exhibition at Leyden Gallery London in August/September 2015 and a touring exhibition in October as part of Irish Wave 2015.