Ella Dawn McGeough

Editor : Est-Nord-Est, résidence d'artistes
Location : Saint-Jean-Port-Joli
Year : 2023
Language : French / English
Author : Galadriel Avon

Artist and author

Ella Dawn McGeough

Ella Dawn McGeough works around the ideas of existence and existentiality, ethics and abstraction, death and life. An inherent part of their practice is research, which acts both as a motive force for experiments and as foundation for their view of the world. The final revisions to their doctoral dissertation shaped the time they spent at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli and organized the material and conceptual articulations taking place in their studio, where they are probing the polarities expressed in ideas about interiority and exteriority and imagining the shifts between what lives within and outside of us as multiple attempts to have the two cohabit. The question of community is thus embodied in McGeough’s approach, a theme that gives rise to new aesthetic, narrative, and experiential positions.

At Est-Nord-Est, McGeough became interested in things that inhabit the spaces adjacent to the building – bunches of branches, insects, fragments of life and non-life – and embraced their shapes and the stories they harbour to model new figures at the intersection of an imaginary nymphal and otherworldly heritage. These creatures, called changelings, accumulate on long tables in McGeough’s emulsion area, alongside kettles holding a variety of natural materials waiting to be arranged with melted wax. As if finding a way to engage with the non-human, McGeough opens doors, placing these fragile assembled sculptures in dialogue as they suffer the vagaries of time. The political, symbolic, and semantic implications of their changes of state interest McGeough, as they testify to the importance of modulations in the land in the artist’s research and also make tangible the position that we choose to take within it.

Once composed, these metamorphs seem to return to themselves, to seize their own history. Mythological narratives, notably, are situated at the periphery of McGeough’s practice and inspire contemplation on reflections and appearances, resistances and resiliencies, rigidity and undulation. For the artist, they constitute focal points from which arise a narrative impulse and an interest in the complexity of the stories that guide us. In this spirit, McGeough’s considerations lead them, through various approaches, to try to make the living visible and give it agency in the way in which it presents and tells about itself; their interest in the non-living is expressed in the worlds that they create from multiple imaginary fusions, like ebbs and flows between what exists and what doesn’t exist yet.