Studio H presents Ellen Cornett “Juxtapositions” May 15 through June 14, 2010

By Editorial Team on April 29, 2010

H Street Icon | ART OPENINGS |

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 15th: 6-9pm
Cornett’s work begins with words—often short stories, operas or fairytales. But once she begins painting or drawing, she ceases thinking in terms of written or spoken language and allows her subconscious to dictate the content and direction of her work. She enjoys the contrast between very precisely executed drawings of people and objects and their improbable juxtaposition.
In this juxtaposition of characters and objects, Cornett explores the uncertain and the illogical in life through her pastels and her drawings. “Eventually, something clicks. I aim to create work that is evocative whose meaning is ambiguous. As in life, there is more than one truth, more than one answer and in my work there is more than one narrative.”

The people who model for Cornett are her good friends, and the props she uses are either personal treasures or things she has made herself. The meaning conveyed by both the props and the people change constantly in Cornett’s work and even from day to day. “Today’s meaning is not what it may be tomorrow. My relationship to these people and these things is mutable and unfixed. Pictures can express that changeability and ambiguity in a way that words, for me, cannot.” explains Cornett.

Theatrical in nature, Cornett’s paintings and artistic process set the scene of a performance. She sews the costumes and assembles the props, positions the models and arranges the decor. Then she records the tale on paper.
One of Cornett’s favorite tales is the transformational story of Pinocchio from a puppet into human boy. This story has inspired Cornett to use scraps of wood, fabric and papier-mâché, to construct her own troupe of marionettes. Juan Carlos, Ratscina and even Cornett herself are cast as actors in different stories. As retold by Cornett, Pinocchio grows up to become Juan Carlos, a tango instructor. Ratscina began as a feral rat for a painting about the Pied Piper, but listening to the voice of her subconscious, Cornett drew Ratscina as a debutante. Another important actor in Cornett’s imagery is Mary Lou, a faceless rag doll she was given at birth. She is Cornett’s doppelganger and a tool of memory, her stand-in and her alternate.

For more information about Studio H Gallery and Workshop, please visit Studio H is located at 408 H Street NE second floor Washington, DC 20002.  Hours are by appointment.