Magical journey in latest show by Stratford artist
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.