Art and science are like two sides of the same coin,” Ellis stated in biographical information submitted for this project. That balance—two sides of one coin—can be seen in Ellis’ image, “The Obliterated Place,” created for “The Art of Fire” exhibit. At once the image captures the strength and uniformity of the forest and the vulnerability of the individual trees. It is a place of solitude, escape and rebirth.
For Ellis, time spent interacting with scientists and managers emphasized the similarities and differences between artists and researchers.
“We share an inquisitive nature, but as artists, we have the freedom to explore the subjective, to consider meaning over data, to focus on the personal. In contrast, the scientific method asks ego and meaning to step aside. Experiences are validated when they are repeated,” she explained.
Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, Ellis earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco Art Institute in 2008, and moved to Alaska in 2010. In her work with fire she is particularly interested in the change that fire brings to the landscape, and inspired by “what is left in the seeming ruins of it.”