Ellen Jewett is an Ontario artist with a background in Anthropology as well as Fine Art. This crossover is evident in her subject matter, uniting science and art into a sculptural fantasy. Her work is a trip to a natural history museum, interpreted into surrealist animal sculptures. The result is a beautiful morphing of nature, into beings that aren’t real, but that we really wish were…
“Counter intuitively, while there is an appearance of complexity in design, there is a simplicity in execution. Each detail, down to the finest filigree, is free-modeled by hand. Within each piece precision is balanced by chaos. The overarching aesthetic knocks on the door of realism, yet the hand of the artist is never intentionally erased; brush strokes and fingerprints abound.
Even the narratives themselves harbor a degree of anarchy as they are rarely formally structured. Rather, I seek to achieve flow states while working to create a fluid progression of unconscious imagery. That imagery, as manifest in tiny ephemeral shapes and beings, forms relationships and dialogues organically.
In the spirit of surrealism, this psychological approach to artistic expression creates a rich network of personal archetypes and motifs that appear to occupy their own otherworldly space. Within this ethereal menagerie, anthrozoology meets psychoanalysis as themes of natural beauty, curiosity, colonialism, domestication, death, growth, visibility and wildness are explored.
Over time I find my sculptures are evolving to be of greater emotional presence by using less physical substance: I subtract more and more to increase the negative space. The element of weight, which has always seemed so fundamentally tied to the medium of sculpture, is stripped away and the laws of gravity are no longer in full effect. In reading the stories contained in each piece we are forced to acknowledge their emotional gravity cloaked as it is in the light, the feminine, the fragile, and the unknowable.” – Ellen Jewett –