The Original Think Magazine (Published since 1996)

Ellen Eldridge

An artist in the true sense of the word, was born in Czechoslovakia in a day when none of us could be here, expect maybe Lee Harvey Oswald...

 

But that was the past and the world has changed drastically since then, as has the visions and experiences of this visionary. Beginning at the age of 16, in underground shows and galleries, she was inspired, but wasn't able to follow her passions through formal avenues of discovery. You see, 40 years earlier her father had studied in England, and she needed special permission for advanced studies.

Ellen EldridgeSimple enough, but her rebellious young mind asked the wrong questions, like 'Why were the Americans stopped in Pilzen in 1945?'.

So off she went instead to a textile arts school, but a chance to leave the country took her to Germany, where she was again deprived of educational opportunities, and employment as well, even as an intern. After 2 years in Germany, and what she calls 'The Change', she returned to Prague, wanting to do things. Big things.

What she found though was the continuance of an age-old apathy, "Under the Communist, the Czech people were sitting in bars saying 'Oh, we can't do anything, we can't do what we want, we have to drink'. When the wall came down, after The Revolution, I came back and they are still sitting in the pubs talking, 'We can't do anything, we are too poor'. It's all just a million excuses."

Supporting herself designing t-shirts, she learned the art of business without becoming cynical about it. Surprising, because the imagery inherent in her work is an honest portrayal of an unhappy, cynical world.

"Do you see the world being happy? Then why should we just paint pictures of flowers and landscapes?" This comes from the belief that good artwork comes out of difficult times. Good artists are those sensitive souls that say out loud things that people are generally afraid to say or see.

Her recent works, (long displayed at the now defunct Marquis de Sade), are born from her experiences in the Balkans, especially Macedonia and Albania. Depicting the poor but noble spirit of these war-afflicted regions, she painted a very moving piece, "The Survivor", painted after gaining perspective from a hard to come by copy of Nick Cave's And the Ass saw the Angel.

Another piece, "The Shock Shop", is inspired by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and an alcoholic friend's experiences with the German mental health care system.

Her latest works are exploring the structures of meat, (she's vegetarian) and imagery from the age of Francis bacon, especially the biblically proscribed punishment of being skinned alive. She is seeking to show the beauty of meat, and the differences between skin and meat through the medium of her paints.

Given the rich, luscious, yet slightly unsettling feeling of her paintings, this new body of works promises to be an enlightening experience for all those who haven't forgotten the importance of either, and want to feel once more with all their senses.

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