Who is Mary Ellis?
"My art is in the Present moment.
It comes from my heart.
It is my truth.
It is what I love.
It makes me happy."
Growing up in a rural town in the Hudson Valley of New York State, Mary was influenced by the energy and excitement of Manhattan while surrounded by the beauty, tranquility and dramatic season changes of the country. She now lives close to where she grew up. Her mother was an artist and art materials were her toys. Becoming an artist was never a choice, it was an integral part of her life. Mary loved the feel of the materials and was drawn to brilliant colors and textures. Not surprisingly she became an abstract expressionist painter.
Mary received formal training from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where she earned her BFA degree. She was fortunate to study under Alex Katz, Richard Linder, Robert Mallory and Mercedes Matter. Brilliant color found in the miracle of nature and music, especially Reggae are her inspirations. Her soul was touched when she first learned about “Les Fauves” Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck, Kandinsky and when she saw paintings by Arshile Gorkey, Hans Hoffman, Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell.
After college she opened a shop in Greenwich Village called Designpoint where she sold abstract needlepoint canvases. Presently, her art is featured on upscale souvenirs sold nationally to airports and gift shops through her company Fifth Avenue Manufacturers. When she is developing graphics for her souvenir company she is looking out into the world at landmarks and specific icons for inspiration, and the work is representational. When she is painting for herself the imagery comes from within.
Here is a short video of Mary discussing how she made a painting at the New York Art Expo.
Every new canvas begins as an adventure. Mary works intuitively with no conscious intention, drawing from her years of development as an artist, the gift that she was blessed with, and her absolute love of brilliant color and the texture of paint. The work is about rhythm, energy, light, space, and color. Sometimes she relies on a landscape structure and other times a play between shapes and lines, focusing on figure ground relationships. The texture, fluidity, and immediacy of paint feels like a dance. There is a point when a composition evolves and the work takes on a life of its own, balancing between spontaneity and structure. Mary usually works on three or four canvases at a time, but she says all of her work feels like one continuous painting allowing her a deeper understanding of her own self expression.
She hopes the viewer will join her in the adventure, set thought aside, and be open to allowing their senses to take in and enjoy her work on a purely emotional and visceral level.