Elle Brown is a young artist with modernist sensibilities. Her practice is grounded by her explorations of landscape and the human form, and her approach is haptic and instinctive. Elle’s work manifests through a series of analog processes, beginning with closely framed photographs that focus on the folds and crevices of bodies curled in on themselves.
Her images are distilled through the photographic development process and then translated into paintings and collages, gradually becoming more and more abstracted until the final metamorphosis happens in the process of their transformation into stone.
Elle’s stone of choice is Portland limestone, it’s relative softness allowing for a more organic development of her biomorphic forms and it’s plain creamy surface adding to the definition of the shapes. She uses her two-dimensional works as starting points for her carvings, rather than as fixed designs, taking joy in finding and following the natural contours hidden in the rock.
Deeply aware of the weight of art history from which it is almost impossible to disentangle her work, Elle spent much of her recent BA delving through the practices of the great twentieth century photographers and sculptors and is currently reading academic texts on the colour blue - the pigment that dominates her studies. Although her research is ongoing, for now she is actively working against the predilection to tether her practice to the conceptual and historical, trying instead to instinctively explore what she and her contemporaries refer to as the ‘poetics of material’.
Elle is one quarter of ‘The Quarry House Collective’ - in some ways more like a tiny artist colony than a collective. The four women artists who make up the group have pulled together to create the space they need to develop their practice, both conceptually and physically. The collective convene regular ‘Land and Sea’ meetings, most often coastal walks which allow them to discuss their shared interests in the emotional, mythic and ecological pulls of water and stone whilst moving through the landscape. With the support of their mentor, sculptor Dr David Paton they have also secured a lease on an empty building at one of the last remaining dimensional granite quarries in the county and are converting it into a studio that will allow them to work stone, throw clay and build works at a scale that would otherwise be impossible.
Written by Field Notes.