Nicola Ellis


I am interested in the material properties, function and circulation of metals and their impact on human culture.
My work draws on the visual language of industry operations, fabrication and profiling processes. The parameters for sculpture, installation and drawings include relationships between people, businesses and places of industry.


The sculpture and installations often feature scrap material and industrial detritus which reference the tradition of mid-twentieth century abstract metal sculpture. My practice breaks from this tradition by orchestrating situations for improvised and impermanent works. Materials are loaned from places of industry often local to an exhibition site; treating steel as a kind of currency in its own right. Each work is not only a response to its material properties and site but it also functions as a reflection of material and industry within local, national and international systems of value.


Material is sometimes gifted or on long-term loan from industry and some sculptural elements are recycled and reconfigured into different works, over time. Alternatively, materials are returned to their source when the work is deconstructed. Either outcome creates an additional micro-cycle in the materials formal lifespan, temporarily lifting it from the steel recycling process.


Drawing affords a kind of physical efficiency in my practice. It allows me to throw about large materials in a small format and defy gravity. My sculptural practice is somewhat focused on logistics and problem solving whilst drawing offers a release from its accompanying limitations and necessary practicalities. A few works on paper make it into physical form and get twisted along the way. The rest generate problems that can only be solved on paper, or not at all. Drawing lubricates the production of smaller studio works and larger installations which I often see as maquettes to inform even larger works.







Nicola Ellis in residence at Ritherdon & Co Ltd. An Essay by Lauren Velvick


Molten lines and metallic dreams: The recent sculpture of Nicola Ellis. An essay by Derek Horton


Corridor8 review. More room for error: Nicola Ellis


Corridor8 review. Meanwhile See This


Corridor8 review. Nicola Ellis & Aura Satz, Castlefield Gallery