‘Nicole Ellis Stripped Bare’, 22 March – 16 April 1995, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, Australia, 1995

Under my skin

Stripped Bare is a series of large flat surfaces or skins stripped off old wooden floors with the use of acrylic emulsion, a similar technique to that used by German artist Nikolaus Lang in his works which strip a layer of the surface off the sunset-coloured cliff at Maslins Beach. If you have ever had a splinter stick under your fingernail from an old wooden floor, Ellis’ work can make you feel a bit edgy. The sense of touch as much as the eye is called on in these works. Getting this close to a floor usually means you are scrubbing it or waxing it. Site Work 3 (#4) is the fourth to be lifted from a particular site and thus is blond rather than grey-brown. Thus is becomes possible to distinguish between layers or levels of floor, to make out trapdoors and stains, to remember peeling skin in the bad old days of sunburn, to think of spills, of the residue from work, the marks that you get on your body from certain chairs and the stiffness, the pins and needles from sitting on the floor. Ellis has commented: “My work seeks to reaffirm the critical status of the body” and it would seem to return a sense of daily corporeality both in a sense of discomfort and in collected experiences over time.

Stephanie Radok
The Adelaide Review April 1995

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