Angela Ellsworth

Time Code
July 7, 2023
Angela Ellsworth

You’ve mentioned your upbringing in Salt Lake City and your long lineage of pioneer ancestors. How has your background influenced your practice as an artist?


Our histories and body memory are always with us. Early figurative paintings focused on the corporeal body replete with beauty and the grotesque. I ran from my Mormon history and found myself in Italy for six years. Once I returned to the US I was more prepared to make peace with my past and explore the religion I was raised in. This time from the outside to the inside and then back outside again. As a cisgender, queer feminist married to a woman I can now more easily accept or understand the “peculiar people” I come from.



How do the esoteric, occult practices of your former religion manifest in your work?


Visions and revelations amongst groups of women. A communication and language outside of a society’s expectations of women. Art examples of this would be Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Agnes Martin and many others.


You have worked with many different disciplines during your career. What draws you towards one medium vs. another?


Mediums speak to each other. The body engages with each medium differently. My work is conceptually driven and context specific and I believe medium (material) has meaning. Sometimes work calls for video or performance and another time a painting or sculpture.


Your oil paintings featured in this show utilize geometric shapes as well as textural uses of brushstrokes and drips. Do these pieces, although visually different from your other projects, tie in with some of your core themes?


Dots and circles repeat through much of the work. Bonnets encrusted with pearl corsage pins engage ritual and repetition. The circle relates to seers and to visions and the invisible. The unseen and the invisible are how I felt growing up. I didn’t see anyone who was like me. This turned my focus to women and particularly women who go unnoticed and/or unclaimed. My work has always had a focus on women even from very early in my career as an art student. Later my work became more explicitly focused on the context of homosocial communities and secret communications amongst women.



What are you working on? What is upcoming? What should we look out for?


Two museum exhibitions are opening in September 2023. One is called “Cowboy” and is opening at the MCA Denver. The other is titled “Shadow and Light” at the new Vladem Contemporary – New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.