Material Witness

Portland, OR. – Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art is pleased to present ELLEN WISNETSKY-MUELLER: MATERIAL WITNESS, an exhibition of drawings, wall and floor sculpture opening on Tuesday, September 13th with a celebratory reception for the artist in the Gallery from 6-8 pm that is free and open to the public.

Only recently relocating her studio to Portland, Oregon, Ellen Wishnetsky­-Mueller grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She studied fashion design at Parsons and printmaking and painting at Wayne State University. Wishnetsky­-Mueller developed her abstract language in drawings and paintings but eventually developed allergies to the various materials she was painting with and was forced to stop. However, after overseeing an extensive house renovation and working with spatial relationships in a new way on that project, she turned to fabricating her sculptures.

Calling on her history with fiber and her love of weathered steel, Wishnetsky­-Mueller combines a myriad of materials very much informed by nature in her sculptures. Her artwork is about transforming an array of organic materials that result in sculptures which recall objects that haunt the periphery of her own memory: a long forgotten book, unfolded rugs, or half­-constructed vessels.

Wishnetsky­-Mueller has a deft command of materials that are hard and soft, strong and vulnerable – from oxidized metal, steel, and aluminum to cocoons, tulle, silk yarn, handmade paper and recycled industrial felt. The resulting works are constructed with materials altered by the passage of time, mixed with diaphanous, pliant and inherently fragile elements – all of which she deliberately cuts, tears, bends and reconfigures.

Despite the range of materials, Wishnetsky­-Mueller creates 3­-D forms that summon a neutral palette, calling the viewer’s attention to the subtlety of hue unified with a keen attention to edges, layers and repetition, all of which accent the paradox of opposition and unification in the work.