Adam Ellyson - Cozy Quilt Cozy
The work of artist Adam Ellyson will be on view in the Curtis Gallery from June 25 through August 27. The show will open with a reception for the artist on Saturday, June 25 from 1 – 3 pm. Everyone is welcome.
A native of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Ellyson has a B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and an M.F.A. from San Jose State University with a concentration in textiles and ceramic sculpture. As a student he sculpted life-size pieces of ceramic furniture and soft sculpture installations. In his exhibit, “The Apartment," he constructed the interior of a living room flipping the tactile nature of materials. All hard objects became soft and the soft hard. The intention of this effect was to draw the view into his work to learn the hardships and blessings of the inhabitant.
The next theme of Ellyson’s work was “moving up”. As young people earn and acquire things to make their lives easier, or as objects of social status, what do they covet? His thesis exhibition showed the first two rungs of the ladder to financial success, a pair of quilted cozies for a washer and dryer and one for a Hummer.
His medium has been the quilt. After he made his first quilt in 1991, slept under it and was comforted by it, Ellyson knew that by combining bits of fabric into larger pieces and patterns, he could express himself artistically through the American quilt. What better medium to use to raise questions, comment on and depicting slices of American life than a quilt? We feel fabric on our skin all day long, everyday of our lives. So that seems like the obvious material for me to use in my study of American Life says Ellyson.
As his work developed, Ellyson began to make knitted coverings for salvaged and found objects: buoys and sandals that had washed up on the beach, cans tossed out car windows and crushed by traffic. These are things that once had a purpose, but were now thoughtlessly discarded or lost. In appreciation of the roles they once played, Ellyson crafts cozies and sleeves for them. These are knitted from yarns he makes from discarded clothes, shoelaces, fishing line, men’s ties or sewn from scavenged fabrics.
Ellyson’s recent quilt series is inspired by newspaper puzzles Suduko and Numbrix. These games are transformed to quilt patterns. He then builds on them with a history of the materials he chooses. They are finished with intricate machine quilting in which he stitches daily dialog or lyrics from songs into the fabric.
Adam Ellyson lives in New Canaan and teaches art to young people at the Mead School in Stamford.