Mostly abstract, Elise Ferguson’s work, both flat and sculptural, uses repetitive shape and pattern as part of the larger whole. Her visual elements are frequently derived from architecture and industrial design and produced using various materials: wood, urethane, vinyl and now handmade paper. The resulting sculptures are conglomerates, formed by constructing her “building blocks” into colorful assemblies that riff on still life.
At Dieu Donné, Ferguson first created black on black works utilizing leftover hand-cast resin tiles from her installation at Socrates Sculpture Park. The tiles, glued to a mesh backing, were used to emboss a freshly made, thick, black cotton sheet in the hydraulic press. The sheet was then dried against the tiles, resulting in a beautiful, minimalist image, with the paper taking on a sheen where pressed against the smooth tile surface. Next, Ferguson executed a group of brightly colored, narrowly striped sheets of paper. Using Mylar strips to cover the entire surface of a wet sheet of cotton paper, the artist lifted the strips in sequence, filling each open strip with pigmented linen pulp paint. Once the pulp painted area drained, the Mylar strip was replaced, and the adjacent strips were filled in succession. The resulting striped sheets will be cut and used to construct a three dimensional sculpture in the artist’s studio.
“The experience opened up several new avenues in my studio practice.” She felt that the most valuable aspects of her residency were “experimenting with new materials” and the “rare free-of-charge journey… I ended up with some interesting and promising results”.
—Elise Ferguson, 2003
Elise received a BFA from The School of the Art Institute Chicago and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.