Ellen Driscoll | Mend
September 8 – October 14, 2023
Opening Reception: Friday, September 8, 2023, 6-8 PM
An Exhibition of New Drawings by Ellen Driscoll
Mend: To make something worn, torn, or otherwise damaged whole or sound by repairing. To set right, make better, or progress toward recovery.
These new drawings by Ellen Driscoll emerged from a sense of interconnectedness between her recovery from a serious medical crisis and the more significant global environmental crisis brought on by global warming. Driscoll's slow healing found resonance and hope in the work of plants that remediate and mend ecological damage. Driscoll writes “Although a melting glacier may feel remote, I can smell the smoke drifting over New York City from fires in Canada, resulting from the same warming that is melting glaciers”. By weaving her own self-portrait into environmental landscapes, she enacts the inextricability Driscoll feels with these larger phenomena.
The drawings in the front room depict plants used in phytoremediation, a process wherein plants absorb, reduce, and clean up toxic contaminants in soil, water, or air. Sunflowers, mustard, vittata, pennycress, poplar, phragmites, Indian grass, and willow are plants used to clean up nitrogen, phosphorus, radiation, lead, cadmium, and other pollutants. The drawings explore the contemporary alchemy of this transformative biological process in an ongoing environmental crisis.
The drawings in the gallery’s second room are self-portraits cut into the weft and then woven into a warp cut in a landscape. The landscape images depict scenes brought on by global warming: melting glaciers, dying trees, and more. The structural matrix of the woven paper connotes the inextricable connection of each individual to the fate of our warming planet.
View the works in the exhibition checklist here.
David Barthold l Tin Pan Alley
West 28th Street is New York City in a microcosm, with the grandeur of history above and the clamor of commerce at eye level. - David Barthold.