Driscollheadshot_6.jpg

ELLEN
DRISCOLL

(she/her)

HIGHLIGHTS
 

  • Received the Outstanding Educator Award in 2018 from the International Sculpture Center
     

  • As Program Director of Studio Arts starting in 2013, she worked to improve diversity and equity, doing independent fundraising to support and achieve these goals
     

  • Received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, Anonymous Was a Woman grant, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, among other honors
     

  • Partnered with architect, Joyce Hwang to construct a large-scale bird nesting installation entitled “Bower.” Commissioned by Mary Miss’s City as Living Laboratory for ArtPark in Lewiston, New York, “Bower” raises awareness of one of the most significant causes of bird mortality in urban areas: bird-glass collisions

THEMES

Climate Change; Environmental Justice & Ecological Systems; Equality & Equity; Immigration & Migration


 

Ellen Driscoll works in multiple media including, but not limited to, sculpture, installation, drawing, and public art. Her work is in major collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of Art. In an early work created at the Radcliffe Bunting Institute she created a camera obscura installation titled after the chapter “The Loophole of Retreat” in the 19th century slave narrative “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” written by Harriet Jacobs. Another early work, “As Above, So Below” for Grand Central Terminal is in the tunnels at 45th, 47th, and 48th Street. This work is of a suite of glass panels and mosaics based on ideas about the sky, sun, moon, and stars from the different continents of the world not represented by the European view of the constellations in the main terminal. In other early works, she engaged medical themes in “Mum’s the Word” which engaged a cohort of aphasia patients at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and “Passionate Attitudes” which mined 19th century medical theories of female hysteria. From 2007 to 2014, Ellen developed themes around consumption, particularly related to the industrial oil complex in works such as “Distant Mirrors” and “FastForwardFossil.” Beginning in 2015, she began drawing plants, exploring their poetics, focusing on their use to remediate toxins in the soil, and to thrive as “volunteers” in harsh surroundings. Recent work includes a sound/image website of audio pieces recorded during a recent journey of recovery from a brain tumor, with self portraits.

 

Ellen was born in Boston. She received her BFA (cum laude) from Wesleyan University. She then earned her MFA in sculpture from Columbia University. For 23 years she was a Professor of Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design. From 2013-2021, she has been Program Director of Studio Arts and Visiting Professor of Sculpture at Bard College. She is on sabbatical until spring 2022 when she will return to teach as Visiting Professor of Sculpture.

Whether working in ghostly white plastic, mosaic, or walnut and sumi inks, her projects fluidly map place and time while mining historical, environmental, and cultural themes.
 –Sculpture Magazine

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