This exhibition of work by Kate Ellis presented a compendium of unsettling hybrid forms which blurred the line between human and animal. The disembodied wax limbs and wall drawings made of poodle fur presented as simultaneously alluring and repulsive: a tense, compelling collection of curious objects and drawings which confound our sense of rationalised, natural “order.” As Ellis has explained, “Ambivalence is a central concern in this work. I am interested in the tensions created from juxtaposing the scientific with the nostalgic; the medical and objective with the personal and emotional. Desire and beauty placed next to illness, decay and repulsion. I am interested in the poodle as a sentimentalised, fetishised icon of femininity. The disembodied poodle paw made suggestions of violence, but had been carefully bound, evoking conflicting notions of protection and constraint, revelation and concealment. The spiraling silk patterning made to traditional notions of women's craft, but also has an organic sense - perhaps evocative of spreading illness and decay.”
Kate Ellis completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1995, and has held several solo exhibitions at 1st Floor, Melbourne (2002, 1998, 1997 and 1992). Group exhibitions include Oblique Shadows, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery 2002; Unsigned Artists, Niagara Gallery, Melbourne 2002; and Something for the Ladies, Penthouse and Pavement, Melbourne 2001. Kate has been the recipient of the National Gallery Women’s Association Award (1992) and the Darebin-La Trobe Art Prize (1999).