Arts / Culture

Opening night at Sarah Ellen’s first solo exhibition at COMA Gallery

sarah ellen

And this is your room. First it was a, your own room. Tell it like it is in your room. Or don't. Why don't you.

When Sarah Ellen was 18, she fashioned her one-bedroom rental into a makeshift studio space. The bedroom was for painting so she slept on the couch. Seven years later, the artist and model has set up a permanent studio space in Alexandria, where she designs furniture and has been slowly chipping away at the body of work for her first solo exhibition, and this is your room, at COMA Gallery in Darlinghurst.

sarah ellen

The title will come as no surprise to anyone intimate with Ellen. Her upbringing was marked by flux, moving homes a head-spinning fourteen times. For this reason, the domestic is something intangible to Sarah Ellen, home a notion she can deconstruct and assemble as if it came from a flatpack. In this respect, she's a master builder, and art has always held an essential role in making her surroundings feel like home.

Her earliest memories of artmaking arrive at around six-years-old, when she encountered her grandmother’s painting studio in the country town of Hillston. Like Ellen's own work for and this is your room, her grandmother's artworks were drenched into colour and had the power to rouse your emotions. This is a lesson Ellen experiments in her practice today.

sarah ellen

sarah ellen

"There’s no greater thrill than finally presenting my first solo exhibition to the world," Ellen tells RUSSH."It's the culmination of countless hours spent in my studio, pouring my heart and soul into every brushstroke. After dedicating a year and a half of my life to its creation, I'm feeling humbled, grateful, and a little bit exposed as I reveal my innermost thoughts and emotions to those who view my work," she says. "But ultimately, it's a wonderful feeling to see my creations come to life and to share them with the world."

If and this is your room ruminates on home, colour is the electric current that keeps the lights on. For the most part Ellen paints with acrylic. Big orbs of shocking pink and fire engine red demand your attention, while muted pastels and neutral tones assure you it's okay to keep looking. Perhaps, this is best communicated in her Inner Sanctum Series, where colours clash around many full moons. However, the most striking work is a 270 x 153 cm canvas where a grey blue mass is dominated by swatches of gestural lamp black.

This has always been the view from Sarah Ellen's room. Now she invites you to experience it too.

And this is your room opens at COMA Gallery on March 11, 2023.

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