Ellen Hausner Painter Oxford

I conceive my paintings, drawings, and prints as explorations of the ephemeral and the unseen, whether the subject is a psychological state, a microscopic particle, an abstract concept, or a moment in prehistory. Creating images of that which does not have an image is what binds all of my work together. In the past, I did this in a way that echoed surrealism, employing a specific symbolic language to express concepts and ideas. As my work has developed over the years, I have allowed abstraction to take the unseen and express it more viscerally. Now I move back and forth between abstraction and the figurative, but the aim is the same: to give visual form to the forces of nature which cannot be visualised directly.

One of the forces of nature to which I refer above is the life force itself. What makes things grow and develop? Much of my work explores the building blocks of our life and consciousness. Is everything to be understood as a product of DNA, genes, and amino acids? What is it that actually animates a cell? Through my work, I have tried to grasp and express the meaning of the actual spark which enables life to occur.

Mystical experience is an immediate, and in some sense conscious, discovery of that spark. I grew up in Nepal and Bhutan, cultures where both worship and meditation were (and are) an integral part of everyday life. This constant sense of the sacred permeates my work, and sacred images from the ancient world are an important source of inspiration. I have practised vipassana meditation for over twenty years and it is central to my vision as an artist. That meditative state of mind is the starting point of creation for me, and I let it through by allowing the colours to present themselves, the figures to emerge, the forms to find their way into existence. The image comes through as I permit the materials I use to direct the piece. My work is an exercise in process.

My work changes all the time, responding to my dynamic personal history and circumstances. I work with a great range of painting, drawing, and printmaking media, and with a background in painting and paper restoration, my work often involves fine detail. Much of my artistic schooling has been in traditional technique, but I am interested in applying those techniques to create something personal. It is the mood of the artwork which interests me above all else, and different techniques can contribute to that as much as the theme. My work represents what is concealed, and the process of creating it is the emergence from the depths.