Wivenhoe Bookshop Magazine & Newsletter | Saturday 28 March 2020

March 2019 – Ella Johnston

‘Heron’ by Ella Johnston

Ella Johnston is an artist based in Wivenhoe is at her happiest gazing at the sky and looking at wading birds in muddy estuaries around Suffolk and Essex.

Her artistic practice reflects a long-standing interest in nature and the visceral relationship humans have with plants and animals. Ella’s drawings examine birds that appear throughout the UK, wild flora and fauna, plus tropical plants that humans like to nurture and cultivate. Her work explores the personal bonds and life stories that we build through our encounters with the natural world.

Ella’s work is inspired by classic botanical and avian illustrative prints of the 19th Century and Regency portraiture. The minimal background aims to emphasise and focus the viewer’s attention on decorative, sensual elements of the subject – giving each piece harmony and rhythm while allowing the spectator to scrutinise, de-construct and interact with it. Her abstract work aims to depict landscape and space as a palimpsest, as she paints, draws scrapes and washes layers of inks, metallic elements and water over paper.

The work she is showcasing in this “Over the Sofa” show debuts a new collection of Indian ink, fine metal nib and Japanese calligraphy brush work. By using this medium she hopes to evoke a sense of spontaneity and play in the work. She as wishes to suggest a sense of exploration and investigation while highlighting the ephemeral fragility of nature under threat from the human world it inhabits. The pieces she has selected for this show are directly influenced by her walks around Wivenhoe.

Ella trained in art and the history of art at Chelsea College of Art and the University of Essex. She is a co-founder of independent publisher Dunlin Press. Portfolio: ellajohnston.wordpress.com | Blog: ellasplace.co.uk Instagram and twitter: @ellajohnstonart