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Hilary Ellis

Hilary Ellis

After completing a BA in Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University, Ellis was awarded a European Social Fund Research Fellowship in Drawing at St Helens College. She has exhibited widely in the North West of England, participating in group shows in Liverpool and Dublin as well as a solo exhibition at Liverpool University Art Gallery as part of the first Liverpool Biennial.

After completing an MA in Printmaking at Camberwell UAL, Ellis now works her studio in Kent, exhibiting in the UK and internationally. In August/September 2015 she had a solo exhibition of her work, titled Pale Significance, at Leyden Gallery, London and took part in a touring exhibition as part of ‘Irish Wave’ 2015. Other group exhibitions at Leyden Gallery include; Fabricate (2013), Summer Salon (2014), Works On Paper (2015), Winter Salon (2015), Sampler (2016), Paper Works (2016), With/Draw (2016), Winter Salon (2016), and notably recently an exhibition SALT/ Ellis & Nakamura at Leyden Gallery (June 2017).

Artist statement

The strangely allied terms of signification and importance are explored in my most recent work. They are re-considered through a long standing practice of pale and muted works, which speak quietly of an enduring and persistent nature that dwells quietly within the realm of traditional womens’ work and its often futile repetitions. The nature of these discreet yet insistent marks, scratches and stitches appear as an overwhelming desire, signifying the chaos cloaked beneath every search for order.

Both religious and secular societies rely on a framework of ritual which orders chaos and instils a sense of comfort and safety that can also feel restrictive and narrowing. It is the space created by this dichotomy that I explore in my work. Using a variety of media, I produce repeated marks and actions that aim at exact replication, but whose inevitable deviations expose the frailty of the human hand in attempting the pursuit of mechanical process. The use of threads and beads is deliberately reminiscent of the labour-intensive toil of sweat shops, whose employees’ existence is reduced to a series of stitches. The works’ restrictive and predominantly muted palette hints of the ennui of such ritualistic and repetitive creation, yet touches of colour – a pink bead, red thread – constitute glimmers of hope.

When is a work of art finished? It is often a random decision which indicates the function of free will in a series of obsessive, almost mechanical processes we would usually associate with the writings of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.

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