March 24-April 24
Ellen Chuse’s fifth solo show at 440 Gallery, Theme and Variations, reflects an exploration of hyper-saturated color along with natural forms that have been part of the artist’s vocabulary for decades. Moving between representation and abstraction, Chuse explores landscape and the body in deeply intimate ways all while creating an ambiguity that encourages the viewer to bring personal associations and experiences to each piece.
In the painting Oaxaca Morning, Chuse places a blue plant-like structure against a vivid red background. Within this cool/warm pairing the viewer intuits the coolness of the morning at play against the heat of the oncoming Mexican afternoon. Upon closer inspection, the clearly-articulated negative spaces are reinforced by the abstraction found in nature.
“Nature contains a life force and vitality that captivates me: the energy of trees simultaneously reaching and rooting; the strength and determination of leaves and plants as they reach for light and air; the ocean’s plant life as it bends and floats with the tides. The shapes and edges that define these forms and the spaces in between have been my muse on and off for years,” says Chuse.