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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. 

About the Artist:

Ellen Driscoll’s work encompasses sculpture, drawing, and public art installation. Recent large scale installations include Site Woven for the Charles R. Jonas Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, NC, CartOURgraphy for Middle College High School and the International High School in Queens, NY, Bower at ArtPark in Lewiston, NY with Joyce Hwang and Matt Hume, and Night to Day, Here and Away for the Sarasota National Cemetery. Earlier works include The Loophole of Retreat at the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris, As Above, So Below for Grand Central Terminal (a suite of 20 mosaic and glass images for the tunnels at 45th, 47th, and 48th Streets). Driscoll has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute at Harvard University, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Anonymous Was a Woman, and a Fine Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters among many others. Her work is included in major public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of Art.


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