Platform Alumni Artist Focus – Ellie Pearch
23rd Sep 2019
Ellie Pearch was shortlisted for the Platform Graduate Award in 2016 by De La Warr Pavilion. She lives in Mile End, London and works as an administrator at an art school. Group exhibitions include Low Entertainment, Arch 5 Hackney Central; EBC018, East Bristol Contemporary; The Fear Is Back, Chisenhale Art Place; and Blue Sky Thinking, SET Capstan House. Her drawings were recently shown in The Emotional Art Magazine.
“Since graduating from the University of Brighton in 2016 I have scavenged for education and opportunities but have not re-entered University. I think it is important to find and exploit resources as a recent graduate and to surround yourself with people who will stimulate you. This could mean applying for free alternative education programmes like Into The Wild, Open School East, School of the Damned, or even something more stealthy like using the printer at work or the scanner at your friends’ art school.
“Shortly after Platform, I was selected to participate in Into The Wild, a year-long professional development programme run by Chisenhale Art Place. Through ITW I connected with other recent graduates and we built a studio community in Poplar. It was cheap and temporary and was a period of intense productivity. I had space to test large scale work and people to talk about it with and this generated bold work and collaborative exhibitions. Since then, I’ve moved into increasingly smaller studios and the work has adapted to accommodate this. Themes of comfort, domesticity, relationships, attachment and detachment are constant throughout, but the process of making has changed. The work has become more sensitive and time-consuming; shifting from playful sculpture to intimate drawing. The drawings I’ve been making this year look obsessively at relationships between two bodies: two-ness, touching and borders crossed.
“Working with De La Warr Pavilion as their Platform nominee was the first opportunity outside of Uni to be publicly called ‘an artist’. It’s a title that still feels uneasy, like it needs to be justified, especially in a period where my production has slowed. It helps to think about Phyllida Barlow, and others, who have day jobs for decades but keep making art. Three years since graduating and this has become the model that I aspire to.”
Image: Easy, 2018, pencil, Ellie Pearch.