hilary ellis

artist statement

The strangely allied terms of signification and importance are explored in my most recent work. They are re-considered through a long standing practice of pale and muted works, which speak quietly of an enduring and persistent nature that dwells quietly within the realm of traditional womens’ work and its often futile repetitions. The nature of these discreet yet insistent marks, scratches and stitches appear as an overwhelming desire, signifying the chaos cloaked beneath every search for order.

Both religious and secular societies rely on a framework of ritual which orders chaos and instils a sense of comfort and safety that can also feel restrictive and narrowing. It is the space created by this dichotomy that I explore in my work. Using a variety of media, I produce repeated marks and actions that aim at exact replication, but whose inevitable deviations expose the frailty of the human hand in attempting the pursuit of mechanical process. The use of threads and beads is deliberately reminiscent of the labour-intensive toil of sweat shops, whose employees’ existence is reduced to a series of stitches. The works’ restrictive and predominantly muted palette hints of the ennui of such ritualistic and repetitive creation, yet touches of colour – a pink bead, red thread – constitute glimmers of hope.

When is a work of art finished? It is often a random decision which indicates the function of free will in a series of obsessive, almost mechanical processes we would usually associate with the writings of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.