Ellen Driscoll/ Statement
I maintain a steady involvement in drawing throughout the entire arc of my artistic practice, from very large public projects to the smallest studio projects. My work is informed by such diverse sources as architecture, the ancient memory arts, and primitive imaging techniques like shadow play. In my sculptural work I use materials as disparate as recycled plastic, LEDs, Roman mosaic, cloth, newspaper, steel, and glass. My work in drawing uses traditional ink and pencil, and collage.
Ideas about margin and center, about private and public, and about obsolescence, entropy, and re-use, are a consistent focus of both the work in drawing, and my sculptural and public work. The recent drawings imagine a future world in which the end game of resource consumption at present rates has resulted in the refugee camp atop the water tower, the North Sea oil rig sharing the ocean's horizon with wildfires and garbage scows, where the development plans for suburban McMansions share space with favelas and slums, where a tent encampment settles at the foot of the melting glacier, where power plants overflow their boundaries and infiltrate urban neighborhoods. Using the limited palette of grisaille or sepia, the worlds in these drawings are drained of color, and yet filled with flux and fluids to indicate the instability of the worlds they depict.
Artist Bio / CV
Ellen Driscoll’s work includes large permanent public installations such as “As Above, So Below” (1999), a suite of 20 mosaic and glass works for Grand Central Terminal North, “Catching the Drift”, a women’s restroom for the Smith College Museum of Art (2003), “Aqueous Humour” , a kinetic sculpture for the South Boston Maritime Park (2004), “Pro Patria Mori” (2006) 84’ long gates for the World War 1 Museum in Kansas City, MO, and “The View From Here” (2006), a 240’ sandblasted glass wall for the Forest Park Metro in St. Louis, MO. Temporary installations include “The Loophole of Retreat” (1991) at the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris, “Passionate Attitudes” (1995) for Threadwaxing Space, New York, and “Betwixt” for Motoazabu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2004). Her most recent exhibition was at Nippon Ginko, an abandoned bank that survived the atomic blast in Hiroshima, Japan. The exhibition in this important memorial site was curated by fellow artist and Hiroshima native, Zero Higashida. Included were 25 two dimensional works made from the New York Times and the Chugoku Shimbon, the Hiroshima newspaper, and two large scale sculptures which were made from over 2000 recycled plastic bottles.
Ms. Driscoll has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (1987), the National Endowment for the Arts (1984, 1986), the Massachusetts Cultural Council (1999), the LEF Foundation (2005), Anonymous Was a Woman (1998), the New York Foundation for the Arts (1985) and the Bunting Institute (1991). Her work is included in major public and private collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of Art. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Bellagio Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, Banff Centre for the Arts, among others. Ms. Driscoll is a Professor of Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design.