Continuum 6 by Heather Ellyard
30 May to 24 June 2018
There are artists who love the paint, the fall of light, the reality of representation, the by-ways of abstraction, the rules of composition, the cunning of the computer, but, I am not one of those. My work is not tied to technique. I pick up and use what I need for particular meanings. Carbon, plaster, salt. Scaffolds, grids, bell-jars. Blackboards, drawings, dolls. And granite from home.
More and more, words are becoming my paint, and structure itself is my composition. In an atmosphere of global imbalance, violence and suffering, my need is to pay attention to our time, to remember, to empathise and to make art that matters.
Continuum 6: hum with me the lullaby of stone is the title and first work in my current show at Janet Clayton Gallery. It is a 4 metre long grid composed of 120 parts. I use the grid to make associations of image and text. One thing leads to another, in seepages and gestalts. For me, it is a way of making bone-poems, essential and condensed. For the viewer, it is a different way of looking.
The exhibition speaks for itself. The Peoples’ Scroll is a 2 metre long, opaque reminder of our humanness. It is covered in words, delicate, difficult and hopeful. No word is ever abandoned is a blackboard grid entirely made of chalk-words. Did you speak to me and I didn’t know is a dithyramb embedded in one square on which is also written: tell me your name again. Songlines is an 18 part framed grid about the austere land where I live. It is more a honed reminder than a landscape painting. Entanglements is a smaller grid, of what I glimpse in the bush, amazed by how a branch and a blood vessel and a plant root are connected.
Everything is connected, but we see only partly. I believe words help us to understand and to share. ‘The world is transformed by speech’ wrote Nachum Glazer, 20th C. Judaic scholar, disciple of Martin Buber and father of my friend, Judith Wechsler, filmmaker.