Ella Bertilsson’s exhibition LIFE POND at Ballina Art Centre weaves wit and surrealist storytelling, illuminating both the mundane and absurd facets of daily life. The artist delves into these themes through a diverse array of mediums, including drawings, digital collages, screenprints, and a site-specific installation, immersing visitors in a realm where reality and fantasy intertwine.
The exploration of the interplay between imagery and narrative takes center stage in Bertilsson’s exhibition. Her digital collages, printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, employ dark humor and wordplay, seamlessly blending analogue photography, drawing, and fragmented fictional text messages. This creates a compelling fusion that challenges perceptions and invites contemplation of the paradoxes of existence.
Adding another layer to Bertilsson’s artistic expression is a vibrant series of drawings on Fabriano, crafted with markers using an intuitive mark-making approach. These drawings radiate a spirit of youthful naivety, absurdity, and escapism, often weaving in subtle references to personal history through nods to music, TV, and film.
Bertilsson’s geographical influences from Ballina in Co Mayo and her hometown Umea in Co Västerbotten, northern Sweden, resonate throughout the exhibition. The migration of salmon, connecting these two locales, serves as a metaphorical bridge, inspiring a site-specific installation featuring a fabricated river. Sheets, fabrics, cardboard, and stones converge to create a multisensory experience. The whimsical scene comes to life with the use of Posca markers and acrylics, transforming cardboard cut-outs into depictions of animals, trees, plants, grass, and vegetables. This re-imagined landscape draws inspiration from the nearby river Moy, visible from the gallery, inviting viewers to traverse the boundary between the ordinary and the extraordinary, guided by a thread of magical realism intricately woven into the artistic narrative.
‘This collection of recent paintings considers the material and conceptual potential of the most basic elements of a painting: frame, surface and ground. These paintings find subtle complexity in surface, asking the viewer to examine empty space as it exists both inside and outside the frame.‘
Ballina Arts Centre Gallery Opening Hours
Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm