21st March 2020

Four Eight Four takes great pleasure in presenting an exhibition of paintings by Michelle Ely… and in her own words...

I started making images again about 20 years ago and having re-taught myself the basic skills - I now have a group of paintings to show.

As an old hairshirt feminist that could be cancelled at any moment for being politically incorrect, and as an old lady, I feel completely relaxed with any contradictions in the work.

Initially I looked at trees and landscapes and then moved onto more difficult themes around rape, murder and loss.

While I am interested in outsiders, the socially isolated and sometimes abused humans, I also like to look at the beauty in a head or a body.

In my front room (looking out) or at good community gathering spots like trams, Kmart or Target, I get to see all sorts of humans.

These are the places that I’m able to look carefully at the face, the posture and the outfit.

I like a lumpy, spotty boy on the tram, or a girl being a boy immersed in the music on those bulky headsets. Skinny lanky types also rate, as clothes hang and bones are prominent.

Since art school in the late 70s I did a number of pics that switched gender on an original, and now they appear again.

The way I have hung the walls reflects how I like to see work - a bit more intimately- with some indication of the human. I’ve sought to bring an area of my workspace to the gallery.

I worry that there is little editing or thread, and then I don’t care. Knowing artists for over 40 years - it’s always the workroom with all the "stuff" in and around these spaces that’s most interesting to me.

In my room I push the work around the walls to see if something is right or NQR. This process can result in a picture being worked on over a couple of years - some become difficult friends and it’s quite hard to share them.

This collection is dedicated to Blanche - who always wanted me to drop montage and get back to painting - she was unconditionally supportive.

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