Rhythm, pattern and process is a fitting description for the paintings that Brad Ellis makes.
His paintings are a combination of mixed media works that involve encaustic, oil, acrylic and collage elements. Texture, surface treatments and color are very important aspects of his work, in order for each painting to have a very profound and compelling presence.
The way Ellis approaches making an abstract picture is to start with a concept such as “language” or “dance” and then find ways to incorporate those concepts into works of art. He typically starts each painting by building up layers of collage materials that consist of found or created paper and fabric elements. These collage pieces are then cut and mounted on to the canvas or board in a specific way to form the underlying pattern for the painting. This helps lay the foundation for the initial imagery and paves the way for the following applications of other mediums.
The next phase of making the painting is the part Ellis refers to as rhythm. This starts the mark making portion of the piece as he begins incorporating expressionistic brush work to create different lines, forms and shapes that get worked and reworked in order to strike the right balance and to create a sense of “surface tension” that is very important to him.
The process portion of the work starts happening when Ellis begins applying layers of the wax-based medium of encaustic. This involves fusing, burning, melting and re-applying this ancient medium in order to achieve surface treatments that can be extremely thick and physical or as smooth as glass.
Ellis tends to create bodies of work by doing a series of paintings with the same concept running through each piece. Though consistent in his approach, this allows him to explore different avenues for the work and to come to different forks in the road as the piece is developing. This inevitably happens by choice, chance and circumstance. As the artist making the work, the unpredictability and potential sense of discovery is very exciting and one of the main reasons why he does what he does.
His ultimate goal is to create a compelling work of abstract art that engages the viewer, is endlessly absorbing and fosters a meaningful dialogue.