Mag­i­cal jour­ney in lat­est show by Strat­ford artist

Stratford Press - - News - By ALICE COWDREY

A se­ries of whim­si­cal con­struc­tions cre­ated by Strat­ford artist Sue El­lis are on dis­play at the Percy Thom­son Gallery.

Sue’s first solo ex­hi­bi­tion, Mys­te­ri­ous Mis­chief (El­lis in Won­der­land), fea­tures paint­ings as well as “con­struc­tions” which are 3D pieces of art made from a range of ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing wood, plas­ter, metal, per­mafill and paint.

In­spired by di­verse artists in­clud­ing Taranaki’s Dale Copeland, Scott Radke, Ralph Hotere and Joseph Cor­nell, Sue also seeks in­spi­ra­tion from the “ex­quis­ite col­orations and be­hav­iour and pres­ence of birds”, the golds, cop­per and bronze tones of de­com­pos­ing veg­e­ta­tion and the “lis­ten­ing still­ness in se­cluded pock­ets of my semi-wild gar­den”.

Sue, who lives on Pem­broke Road, has al­ways loved art and play­ing around with dif­fer­ent medi­ums.

“I’ve al­ways loved mak­ing things, play­ing around with paint and wood and metal and hand-tools, un­earthing lit­tle trea­sures per­fect for a cer­tain place or func­tion other than their orig­i­nal pur­pose.”

She says the ex­hi­bi­tion has three dis­tinct ar­eas of work, yet they all re­late to each other. As well as the 3D con­struc­tions, these in­clude oil and acrylic paint­ings. Sue likes to take her time on the 3D pieces, and uses a doll as a base for the birds — grad­u­ally build­ing up the beak, wings and tail.

She de­scribe the bird pieces as a “sim­ple in­dul­gence in fab­ri­ca­tion and or­na­men­ta­tion” and en­joys the way their un­ex­pected per­son­al­i­ties emerge as well as cre­at­ing the del­i­cate struc­ture of their bones.

“It gets messy mak­ing them but it is a a lot of fun.”

Sue loves the process of cre­ation and says the feel­ing of be­ing to­tally ab­sorbed is ther­a­peu­tic — giv­ing her the abil­ity to fo­cus fully on the present .

Sue says her grid paint­ings have be­come some­thing of an ob­ses­sion, each painted win­dow “a pro­found im­mer­sion in the fre­quency and life of the colour”as well as the aroma of oil paints.

Sue was born in New Ply­mouth and after liv­ing in Auck­land moved to Strat­ford in 2006.

“I love Taranaki and I just love Strat­ford and I am re­ally sur­prised more peo­ple aren’t liv­ing here.

“I hope these pieces give oth­ers the de­light they give to me.”

Percy Thom­son Gallery di­rec­tor Rhonda Bun­yan says the ex­hi­bi­tion is a must-see.

“She is a mas­ter ob­server of her own world which is largely made up of her wild gar­den and lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment. Con­tem­pla­tive, mind­ful and ar­tic­u­late her skills, es­pe­cially with her de­light­ful bird se­ries, takes us on a mag­i­cal jour­ney.”

SOME of Strat­ford artist Sue El­lis works on show at Strat­ford’s Percy Thom­son Gallery.

EST ar­canum avium (The Mys­te­ri­ous Birds) by Sue El­lis.

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