(Australia 1967 – )
111.0 x 99.0 cm sheet; 124.7 x 112.2 x 6.0 cm
Rachel Ellis is highly regarded for the subtle geometry of her drawings of urban subjects – interiors, inner city backyards and rooftops.
'Evensong' is a prayer to the power of light and nature as experienced in the suburban everyday. Intensely personal, the setting for this drawing is the view to neighbours' houses on Durham and Havannah Streets, Bathurst, over the side fence of the artist's house. However the real focus of attention is the weathered fence and two trees, one lopped (or amputated) to a tall stump, the other reaching upwards, feather-like, into the bright afterglow of late afternoon light.
Light to dense layers of charcoal worked well into the grain of heavy drawing paper, have created a bold chiaroscuro and a rich tactile graphic surface. The drawings of Lloyd Rees and Seurat come to mind, but also something of the spirit of Samuel Palmer and Frederick Griggs.
Rachel Ellis, a devout Christian, won the Blake Prize in 1996 with a powerful drawing of the washing of Christ's feet. 'Evensong' clearly has spiritual undertones - the slender feathered tree at the centre of the composition evokes the Christian cross and the ascension of Christ, the lopped tree arching towards it, one of the robbers' crosses as part of the Crucifixion.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 11, 65 (illus.), 79.
Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, Newtown, Apr 2012, 21 (illus.).
Christopher Allen, The Australian, ‘Nuanced works draw on the disciplined imagination’, pg. 13, Canberra, 19 Dec 2011, 13.
Dobell Prize for Drawing (2011), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Dec 2011–05 Feb 2012
Rachel Ellis: paintings & drawings, King Street Gallery on William, Darlinghurst, 07 Feb 2012–03 Mar 2012
Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 Years of the Dobell Drawing Prize: