SHARON ELLIS : THE SPARKLING PITCH OF HER BRUSH

REFRACTIONS IN HER BRAIN — FLYING EMOTIONS

by Rosanna Albertini

SHARON ELLIS, Desert Bouquet, 2015 alkyd on paper, 16" x 12" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Desert Bouquet, 2015
alkyd on paper, 16″ x 12″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

You like it in the desert when tiny flowers bloom in the dryness as if petals of color had come from the sky, and you forget the sun, to listen to the air, the wind whispering about a river that disappeared, people and cattle who moved. And there you are, alone like the land around you, as blue as a bird. Your mind one with the space. Your nature shrinks to the bones. Red and blue burst into the hidden heart of what you still call a human. No gravity. No weight. Colors become the music contained in only one musical tempo; if you want, you can call it a painting.

 

SHARON ELLIS, Messenger, 2016 alkyd on paper, 12 1/8" x 16 1/8" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Messenger, 2016
alkyd on paper, 12 1/8″ x 16 1/8″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Firefly Fugue, 2016 alkyd on paper, 12 1/8" x 16 1/8" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

SHARON ELLIS, Firefly Fugue, 2016
alkyd on paper, 12 1/8″ x 16 1/8″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

A few threads attach Sharon’s mind to the world. Colors. The changing presence of light.
The thin silk of her hair. What she sees is a dissolving organism filling her pupil drop by drop: her own feeling of something, she doesn’t know what it is, if it is, where? A miniature expands with no feet. A liquid existence that doesn’t disappear. Maybe she gets lost like Alice in a field of weeds and shrinks and regrows until the fireflies put together a figure, it can be human, maybe not. The secret being of things.

SHARON ELLIS, Galactic Heart, 2015 alkyd on paper, 12" x 16" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

SHARON ELLIS, Galactic Heart, 2015
alkyd on paper, 12″ x 16″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

It is not an image. It is a feeling.
There is no image in the hero.
There is a feeling as definition.
How could there be an image, an outline,
A design, a marble soiled by pigeons?
The hero is a feeling, a man seen
As if the eye was an emotion,
As if in seeing we saw our feeling
In the object seen and saved that mystic
Against the sight, the penetrating,
Pure eye. Instead of allegory,
We have and are the man, capable
of his brave quickenings, the human
Accelerations that seem inhuman.

WALLACE STEVENS, Examination of the hero in a time of war, stanza xii

SHARON ELLIS, Ghost lake, 2016 alkyd on paper, 16 1/8" x 12 1/8" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Ghost lake, 2016
alkyd on paper, 16 1/8″ x 12 1/8″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

Is this a trompe l’oeil? A trick for our eyes? Should I polish the words and soften them until they mutate into the strange fat fingers almost marzipan coral for the moonlight, sitting by the milky way? The physical, the chemical, have gone astray. Her existence – the artist is always there holding her brush – for the time being slips out of time, in an outer space completely silent. She is the only one who can glide on the mysterious planet where flatness, and poverty of spirit, are never, will never be admitted. Even the stars have lost their dust.

Sharon Ellis paintings on paper were presented at Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, in December 2016.

BREAF LITTLE DREAMS

SHARON ELLIS: paintings from Yucca Valley (California)

All our language is composed of brief little dreams; and the wonderful thing is that we sometimes make of them strangely accurate and marvelously reasonable thoughts.”

FEATHERS IN MY MIND, by Rosanna Albertini

 When the language is visual, and painters make it personal, our visual habits are overturned, and thoughts themselves become imaginary feathers softening our brain from inside. Scared to see that each instant truly vanishes at the speed of light, we take refuge in a mythical country that we call time, or history. Then, strangely, we ask a painting to tell us what’s painted, as if images were more real than words.

A phantom sea,” says Sharon Ellis. Maybe she asked the Joshua trees to tell the story, they are so tormented and bristly that they looked old when were born, and perhaps are, or passed on the feeling of water all over the desert valleys from one forest to another. Oh, the painted water is soft. Her conversation with the moon and the stars is pure luminosity, a bright flower shaped by the petal-clouds. Wearing their perfect blackness, the trees look at the light in silence, stupefied guardians.

SHARON ELLIS, Phantom Sea, 2015, alkyd on paper, 11

SHARON ELLIS, Phantom Sea II, 2015, alkyd on paper, 11″ x 14″
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

SHRON ELLIS, Phantom Sea, 2015   alkyd on paper, 11

SHRON ELLIS, Phantom Sea, 2015 alkyd on paper, 11″ x 14″
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

Years ago I had a long walk on top of the mountains on the shoulders of Pisa, Italy, following narrow paths that a geologist friend of mine was tracking and naming for the first time. That’s why, on the map, one finds il sentiero Ho Chi Minh, and other memorable names from the time of the Vietnam War. Sausages in a bag were part of the scene, to avoid being attacked by wild boars. The geologist was Marco Tongiorgi, the son of a scientist whose name could shine in Sharon Ellis’ sky: Ezio Tongiorgi who dealt with chronology, climate, whale skeletons and human life in a small territory and invented techniques to measure their age. In Pisa I always heard he had discovered Carbon-14 radiation in organic dead materials, still a major dating reference. But I read in Wikipedia that Willard Libby from Chicago bears this honor, which led him to the Nobel Prize. Maybe they both did it separately, not knowing about each other. I’ll stay with the myth of Tongiorgi, because it radiates from my twenty years of life in Pisa.

“All history is made up of nothing but thoughts to which we attribute the essentially mythical value of representing what it was. Each instant falls at each instant into the imaginary.”

SHARON ELLIS, Aquatic Bouquet, 2015, alkyd on paper, 14

SHARON ELLIS, Aquatic Bouquet, 2015, alkyd on paper, 14″ x 11″
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

The most vivid image coming to me after that walk, though, is a group of flat rocks whose surface was slightly wrinkled, as if horizontally shaped by a soft, repetitive bumping: “It’s the work of the waves,” I was told, “What you see is the still form of the waves .” I turned my eyes toward the invisible see shore. Ups and down of the hills, houses and the city itself disappeared under an undulated surface not unlike the one painted by Sharon. Her images are not a figment of imagination, they are her painted story of the beginning of time. Ancient Greek philosophers left us a few, fragmented words to isolate the physical essence of natural things. This artist of today has made each of the essences a visible motion: leaves and flowers of her Aquatic Bouquet are water herself; the shaped movements bloom in a frenzy of bubbles and filaments. The blinding power of the sun, instead, spreads a garden of comets, and white shadows: Sun Garden. And the blades of grass defy the celestial explosion for they come from the ground that makes them strong, flexible, and not obviously friendly.

“In the beginning was the Fable!” Which means that every origin, every dawn of the things is of the same substance as the songs and tales around a cradle…”

SHARON ELLIS, Sun Garden, 2015, alkyd on paper, 14

SHARON ELLIS, Sun Garden, 2015, alkyd on paper, 14″ x 11″
Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

PS. The three quotes are from PAUL VALERY, A Fond Note on Myth, 1928.