Ellen Gilbert image

Graduates 2019: Ellen Gilbert: Fine Art Painting

“My artistic practice is centred on revealing the invisible technological environment that we are in and surrounded by.”

Tell us a bit about your artistic practice

I am passionate about considering it to be my role as an artist to create anti-environments that make visible the hidden aspects of social media and the online world that we are unconsciously conforming to.

Can you talk us through your final piece?

‘The New Eve-olution’, is a photographic performance series in which my body became the subject and object used to express how ingraining pattern recognition into our nervous systems is affecting our bodies, minds and our futures. Revealing anti-environmental perceptions of the invisible tropes that affect us in our all-consuming digital world. Without art creating an anti-environment as a means of perception; this environment will remain invisible. The imagery is translated into a form of awareness as it provokes a voyeuristic anxiety, making the viewer question their relationship to technology.

Who inspires you?

My research is inspired by media theorist Marshall McLuhan and his envisions of expressing that ‘Environments are invisible’. Stating 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.’[1] My 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.

How do people interact with your work?

The exhibition space represents a cycle of experience. Entering the space, you make yourself comfortable on my interactive soft-sculpture cloud, then you are reborn through my Digital Native user guide mediation, opening your eyes to the now-made visible environment.

How have you found your final year?

Throughout this year I have used my art as a life raft to keep my head above the waves of computational thinking. Testing the boundaries of painting using performance, photographic documentation and a hybridisation of painterly materials and redundant hardware to express and make visible the impact that our all-consuming digital world is having on our bodies, minds and futures. My time at Brighton university has been a journey in discovering how my art has subconsciously become a therapeutic process. I have found my medium where I can fully express how I internally feel.

What next for you?

I now look forward to living in London and getting my own studio. The graduate show is only my first attempt at engaging my practise with the public, I am looking forward to finding new ways to expand my visions of how technology has changed the way that we see and navigate in our environment.

See more of Ellen’s work

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Find out more about Fine Art Painting






















(figure 1) The Dawn of Eve


























(figure 2) Motherboard
















































(figure 3) Ecstasy of the Gaze
















































(Figure 4) Abandoned















































(Figure 5) Forbidden

[1] Marshall McLuhan, “The Invisible Environment: The Future of an Erosion.” Perspecta, Vol 11, (1967), 161-7

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