Associations with assemblage
By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times
This week’s local art watch is focused on the multi-media work of local artist Ellie Byrom-Haley. Byrom-Haley creates multi-media artworks that combine photography and painting with the textural aspects of assemblage. Found materials and man-made objects are assembled onto a hand-painted surface.
Byrom-Haley considers her work a journey, “Collage is a process of selection, dimension, juxtaposition, and association- Metzinger’s “fusion of objects within a limited space.”’ The materials are chosen for their texture, aesthetic appeal and for the stories that resonate within them. Byrom-Haley ‘s work presents cleanly defined images that work together to create a beautiful canvas, which in turn whispers a new story. She says that each of her works has a story in them, and that the story evolves as she works on the piece.
In her mesmerizing piece “Get Out Now” Byrom-Haley put together images and thoughts that she had collected on her recent art excursion to Cuba with Chester County Art Association fellow artists. At the center of the assemblage piece is an identity folio from the 1940s of a Cuban woman in her late twenties.
Byrom-Haley discovered this folio in a street market in Havana and was moved by what story it might tell. Also assembled are a ticket from a Cuban museum that they had visited, a scrap found on the sidewalk and strips of writings from love letters that she has collected over the years. Fascinated by words and images and texture, the artist wraps the elements together in a sheath of watercolor and pencil renderings and moves us to wonder.
Her inspiration for “Nearby Object” was a scrap of paper from a manual of some sort from the 1950s. The sole instruction on the paper is “Push away nearby object”, which Byrom-Haley has incorporated into a medley of subtle earth toned abstract shapes. An outline of a bird is gently painted in over the paper scrap. The light blue on the bird’s belly is echoed in the placement of light blue paper tabs and an alphabet “O”. The sign tells you to stand away, but you cannot help getting closer so that you can investigate all the written details of the piece. Byrom-Haley writes ” A field of color and a simple piece of paper can interact, conjuring a third thing capable of evoking a powerfully heartfelt and transcendent response.” It is funny and also mysterious, with something as simple as an instruction card turning into a multi layered piece of art. She continues “One never quite knows exactly where such a journey begins, or where it will end. It’s a mystery possessed of both difficulty and delight. It is, after all, a celebration of fates. Who’s in charge? The artist? The art?”
Byrom-Haley studied fine arts at California State University Sacramento and American River College. She has exhibited her work nationally from San Francisco and Los Angeles to numerous galleries on the East Coast and is in many private collections. In addition to being a fine artists and photographer, Byrom-Haley also continues her work in communications design with a focus on museum exhibits and interpretive design.
This week her work will be featured at Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square on Thursday November 7th from 5-9pm. Proceeds from the show support the Chester County Art Association’s New Building Fund.
Local Art Watch highights one local artist every week. Lele Galer is an artist who has chaired numerous art shows, taught art history and studio art, public art and has chaired, written and taught the Art in Action Art Appreciation series for the UCFD schools for the past 12 years. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and wrote for the Asociated Press in Rome. She has been dedicated to Art History and art education for most of her adult life. Lele and her husband Brad own Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square and she is President of the Education Foundation and co-Chairs the CCAA’s New Building Campaign.