Geomorphic Layers & the Sublime // Ellis O'Connor
Ellis O'Connor is a visual artist from Scotland. Practicing in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, printmaking and photography, Ellis aims for her work to engage its viewers in the relationship between human activity and environmental change.
Often working on large scales and building up layers of paint or ink which mimic geomorphic layers, Ellis wishes to confront viewers with sublime imagery that may evoke a change in awareness or sense of individual responsibility for environmental issues. She uses this visual language to challenge assumptions about the natural environment, to reinterpret the grandeur of natural land forms, and to represent this visual information laden with power.
While humans are absent, the spectral presence of the viewer who sees this land understands that it is not ‘empty’, but rather filled with the same elements which sustain all life. Within these remote and northern places, there is a feeling of powerful atmosphere, and this body of work invites the viewer to feel the powerful presence of the landscape, its textures and its marks that we do not necessarily notice in passing. The drawings are therefore large scale, gestural and sweeping—in imitation of the landforms themselves; prints are layered and tactile, responding not only to the landforms but to the textual rock surfaces as well.
It is the internalized grandeur of Iceland's landforms that take precedence in Ellis' work. Drawings confront; photographs highlight the bareness and hostility of the country's wild landscapes, exposed to the elements unceasingly. Ellis hopes this work can serve as records of landscapes in flux, honoring the transitions they undergo and also inspire our global community to take action for the future.