Ellen Harvey painting Locks Gallery

Ellen Harvey
New Forest/The Internal Revenue Office Reforested, 2013
acrylic, oil, and varnish on 20 wooden panels
92 x 160 inches overall

Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea Locks Gallery

Ena Swansea
14th st pile field 5, 2013
oil on graphite on canvas
18 x 24 inches

Ellen Harvey Locks Gallery

Ellen Harvey
Sunset/Moonrise, 2015

hand-engraved Plexiglas mirror, light box, metal clips

48 x 144 inches
Collection of the Clay Center of Arts & Sciences

Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea Locks Gallery

Ena Swansea
pile field, 2015
oil on graphite on linen
60 x 72 inches

Ellen Harvey Locks Gallery

Ellen Harvey, Sunrise/Moonset, 2015

hand-engraved Plexiglas mirror, light box, metal clips

48 x 72 inches

Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea Locks Gallery

Ena Swansea
momento, 2002/2015
oil on graphite on canvas
60 x 36 inches

Ellen Harvey Locks Gallery

Ellen Harvey
Destroyed Landscape (Cloudy Moon), 2012

hand engraved Plexiglas mirror, light box, metal clips

24 x 36 inches

Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea Locks Gallery

Ena Swansea
view from the roth bar, 2013
oil on graphite on linen
72 x 90 inches

Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea Locks Gallery

Ena Swansea
14th st pile field 4, 2013
oil on graphite on canvas
18 x 24 inches

Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea Locks Gallery

Ena Swansea
rusty garbage, 2014
oil on graphite on linen
72 x 60 inches

Press Release

Locks Gallery is pleased to present a two-person show of the works of Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea on view from January 9 through February 21, 2015. There will be an opening reception on February 6th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Both artists have expanded the way one can encounter painting through their signature styles—Harvey with her inventive conceptual installations and engraved mirrored-Plexi works and Swansea with her oil on graphite paintings. While Harvey plays with art historical motifs and Swansea presents cinematic or almost dream-like scenes, they are united by their explorations of light, vision, and the human landscape. On view from both artists are works in traditional oil paintings alongside recent pieces that toy with our perception through unusual material experimentation. Each artist has previously had two solo exhibitions and been included in multiple group shows at the gallery.

Ellen Harvey’s New Forest/The Internal Revenue Service Reforested is a multi-panel painting that imagines the architecture of Andover’s Internal Revenue Service building reclaimed by plants. Ruins are a recurring subject of exploration for the artist. Building off of conceptual threads she began with installations like The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2013 and Mirror at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2005, she continues to imagine how our human landscape would be perceived if abandoned. This monotone painting takes its composition from a recent sandblasted glass mirror installation commission at the very IRS building it depicts. New Forest will be joined by Sunset and Moonrise, new mirrored Plexi light box engravings. These inherently call attention to the play with negative and positive space drawn with light in this medium and continue her exploration of seascapes which Harvey developed in her Arcade/Arcadia installation.

For the first time, examples of Ena Swansea’s early paintings will be on view alongside recent oil on graphite works. Making permanent the ephemeral nature of shadows could be a futile effort, yet works like Black and White Shadows and Purple Shadows evoke the sensation of seeing rather than painterly mimicry. Fluidly, her explorations of shadows have developed into an equal fascination with light. The unusual effect of paint on the quasi-reflective surface of graphite allows Swansea to cleverly experiment with figure-ground relationships. Her exploration of the effect of light on surfaces like water can be both the subject and embodied by the very nature of the medium itself. In dialogue with the fabricated ruins painted by Harvey, a series of Swansea’s recent paintings feature real ruins of the wooden pile fields in the Hudson River.

Jacques Lacan in his essay “The Line and Light” explored the important distinctions between understanding the subject and looking at the picture, and differentiating between the eye and the gaze. Lacan argued that the eye cannot be fully understood through a simple description of its function, as we experience our vision through desire and subjective experience. This too, is true of painting and image-making. Harvey and Swansea utilize illusory effects in their medium to magnifying this reality for the viewer—transcending the act of painterly depiction into explorations of perception, change, and the uncanny.

Ellen Harvey
Artist
Ellen Harvey
Ellen Harvey
Exhibition
Ellen Harvey
Contemporary Jewish Museum Nov 25, 2016 – Apr 2, 2017
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