©2019 by Eleanor May Watson

Statement 2019

At the heart of Eleanor’s practice lies an indulgence in and concurrent ambivalence towards the very spaces and objects she depicts. Recurring motifs of heritage are reproduced in an elegiac tone to create a whimsical escape in to the English stately home. Dealing with a common, middle-class aspiration and desire Eleanor’s work re-presents what these spaces symbolise. The inescapable presence of the history of empire and colonialism is starkly at odds yet experienced simultaneously with a romantic enjoyment of the ornate image and beautiful surface. 


Eleanor makes large-scale monoprints on strips of Japanese paper to theatrically drape like tapestries across walls. Themes of cloaking and obscuring are embodied in the large monoprints which in turn bring to mind the Gothic haunted house. These form huge images in washes of colour, upon which hang much smaller oil paintings which function like incoherent cyphers. The chosen subjects; such as the unlit candle, Chinese vase, and painting of ships set sail, symbolise both a romantic escape and the truths of history. By layering the images and materials Eleanor creates a shifting understanding of the viewers relationship to the work.


Working from photographs found in catalogues, Eleanor’s work maintains a clear relationship to the photographic source material though a detached observation and abbreviation. The prints are captured like a photograph, but the imperfections of the surface of ink create a sensation of the image appearing or disappearing, as though caught within in an entropic process. Information is carefully revealed and concealed, and spatial relationships are disruptive in order to activate the viewer within the space and implicate them in their enjoyment of it.