25 July to 06 August 2017
In his latest body of work, Opposite Shore, Ellis refers to various migrations across the seas, including those of environmental refugees and his own family’s passage from Scotland and Ireland to New Zealand in search of a new home. A key example from this suite is Standing Off (2017), where two potentially foundering ships are tossed about on a sea of Ellis’ bedsheets. The larger ship, Hikawa Maru, was a Japanese rescue vessel launched in 1929 which transported German Jewish refugees to Canada and the North West United States in 1940-41. Ellis’ soft pillows appear in stark contrast to the ships’ dangerously rolling pitch. A craggy cliff borrowed from Achenbach looms overhead, along with a turbulent sky in a composition also reminiscent of a Surrealist landscape.
"Stephen Ellis’ meticulously rendered ink drawings poetically engage the materialisation of climate change – that slow-moving apocalypse now rapidly gaining pace – once considered a ‘theory’ yet now demonstrably manifesting in volatile physical forms both felt and lived." Emil McAvoy 2017
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