Nicola Ellis

I am interested in the material properties, value, function and circulation of materials. With a current focus on metals, my work draws on the visual language of industry operations, fabrication and profiling processes. The parameters for sculpture, installation, drawings and video include relationships between people, businesses and places of industry.


My installations often feature scrap material and industrial detritus, referencing the tradition of mid-twentieth century abstract metal sculpture. Breaking from this tradition, my process of making often creates situations for improvised and impermanent works. Further to this, materials are often loaned from places of industry; 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.

Materials are 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 recycling processes.

I am currently working with a manufacturer based in Darwen, UK to integrate my practice into the whole ecosystem of a factory and its associated business operations. Works and new methodologies will be informed by the workplace philosophy and the disruption of current factory operations. This will be a long term study of a reciprocal relationship between Artist and Manufacturer.

As a lubricant for large improvised installations, drawing affords a kind of physical efficiency within my practice. It allows a release from the limitations and necessary practicalities of working on a large scale with chunky materials. Some forms within the drawings make it into physical form, but always get twisted along the way. The rest generate problems that can only be solved on paper, or not at all.







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