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Clay Ellis, Near the Glenmar

Clay Ellis, Near the Glenmar (2008) acrylic on canvas [Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat AB, Jul 2-Aug 20]

Clay Ellis: The Third Stake

Esplanade Art Gallery
Medicine Hat AB – Jul 2-Aug 20, 2016

Clay Ellis, Mycroft

Clay Ellis, Mycroft (2015) stainless steel, acrylic, aluminum, urethane [Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat AB, Jul 2-Aug 20]

The title of Ellis’ current exhibition of polychrome and resin abstract paintings and sculptures is taken from his “remembrance” of Leo Tolstoy’s How Much Land Does a Man Need? (1886). In Tolstoy’s story, a peasant anxious for more land enters into a business deal that allows him as much land as he can stake off before sunset. But as the peasant deliberates on where to place his third stake, he begins to come unhinged.

Ellis’ exhibition is by no means a literal representation of Tolstoy’s story. Instead, it provides evidence of an interior state common to those for whom abstract form, not narrative figuration, best expresses our modern condition. For Ellis, this condition is conveyed through “images that allude to the distinct views on land use held by each of the six generations associated with the family ranch in southern Alberta.”

Like his 2005 Eight Miles of Barbed Wire exhibition, whose title is based on the (literal) distance between the first telephone in southern Alberta and the station to which it was connected, the works in the Third Stake also hinge on distance – be they the placement of forms at opposing ends of the canvas, or, if stacked one atop the other, the time it takes each preceding form to settle in and dry.

Michael Turner

Clay Ellis, Yellowbaro

Clay Ellis, Yellowbaro (2012) acrylic on canvas [Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat AB, Jul 2-Aug 20]

Clay Ellis, Petit déjeuner
Clay Ellis, Petit déjeuner (2014) acrylic on canvas [Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat AB, Jul 2-Aug 20]

 Thu, Jun 9, 2016