Saturday, December 06, 2008

Ellyn Weiss’s Muse

I recently finished photographing a new body of work by Ellyn Weiss and wanted to share some of the images of her beautiful prints with you. Weiss often draws inspiration from the biological world, and this summer nerve cells served as her muse.

Ellyn Weiss, “Biological Agent”, 2008, monoprint, 15” x 11”

Ellyn Weiss, "Nerve Cells, Two Views", 2008, monoprint with chine collé, 15" x 11"

Once Ellyn selects a theme, she pursues it until her imagination plays out. She focuses on particular parts of images, enhancing and deconstructing them to create compositions of layered imagery that are suggestive of her original inspiration but never literal. She usually begins with one or more repeatable matrices (etched plates, woodblocks, or even Styrofoam blocks) to which she adds various elements of color, collage, and stenciling--often running a print through the press three to six times.

Ellyn Weiss, "Deconstructed Elements", 2008, monoprint, 22" x 28"

Although Ellyn served as the first General Counsel for the Union of Concerned Scientists from 1978 to 1988, it was not until a decade later that she became intrigued by the forms and colors of the human body's internal structures. At an exhibition in Baltimore, she was moved by the beauty, depth, and vibrancy she saw in photographic images of magnified cells by two Johns Hopkins scientists. She describes that exhibition as a pivotal experience, explaining that she was "overcome at the thought of this beauty twinned with functionality inside each of us."

Ellyn Weiss, "Cellebration", 2008, monoprint with gouche and chine collé on rice paper, 13" x 10"

Please let us know if you are interested in learning more about Ellyn Weiss’s work.

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