Ellen Gilbert’s practice is centred on revealing the invisible technological environment in which we exist and by which we are surrounded. She considers it her role as an artist to create anti-environments that make visible the hidden aspects of social media and the online world to which we are unconsciously conforming. Ellen states that without art creating an anti-environment as a means of perception, this environment will remain invisible.
The artist’s research is inspired by media theorist Marshall McLuhan and his vision expressing that ‘Environments are invisible’. He states that the artist as a creator has a particular role in society to do this: ‘The Artist as a maker of anti-environments becomes the enemy in society. … He does not accept the environment with all the brainwashing functions with any passivity whatsoever; he just turns upon it and reflects his anti-environmental perceptions upon it.’Ellen’s aim is to address Marshall McLuhan’s theories by creating art that can and will be used as a resource in expressing the altered realities in our photoshopped, narcissistic, overwhelming online world. Especially as the generation growing up now is completely submerged in the digital; the future relies on art providing the visual balance between their real life and digital life.
The Internet is everywhere, and it is invisible which is why it is so hard to think about. The more information that is being continuously poured upon us instantaneously, the more confusing and overwhelming the world is appearing. Humanity has essentially moved into a mode of pattern recognition. Contemporary artists can detect and reveal these patterns, as the artist is always seeking new pattern recognition.
Through performance, photographic documentation and a hybridisation of painterly materials and redundant hardware, Ellen’s work unveils her internal feelings of being forced to continuously navigate digitally in our habitat; her aim is to visually communicate how ingraining pattern recognition into our nervous systems through our digital devices is affecting our bodies, our minds and our futures.
Marshall McLuhan, “The Invisible Environment: The Future of an Erosion.”Perspecta, Vol 11, (1967), 161-7
Rising Talent 4: Young and emerging artists | 3rd - 15th September 2019 Hastings Arts Forum, Gallery 2
Free Range | 4th - 8th July 2019, The Old Truman Brewery, London
Brighton Graduate Show | 'The New Eve-olution' May - 9th June, University of Brighton.
Conjecture | 3rd - 14th February 2018, University of Brighton 58-67 Grand Parade, Brighton
Foundation Show | 2016 - University of Creative Arts, Canterbury
University of Brighton, Fine Art Painting BA Hons, 2016-2019
University of the Creative Arts, Canterbury 2013-2014