Brad Ellis is a mid-career, Texas-based artist whose focus is on abstract painting.
Brad earned his BFA from the University of Tulsa. Throughout his career he has continually experimented with imagery from tightly rendered, systematic patterns to loosely constructed, expressionistic compositions. He has distinguished himself by embracing the ancient medium of encaustic which is hot wax painting and is a process by which heated bees wax is mixed with pigments and applied to board or canvas and then fused to the surface with a heat source. The pure physicality of the paint combined with various collage elements render distinct textures and surface treatments that energize his abstract imagery with movement and excitement.
Brad tends to create bodies of work by doing a series of paintings with the same concept running through each piece. Though consistent in his approach, this allows him to explore different avenues for the work and to come to different forks in the road as the piece is developing. This inevitably happens by choice, chance and circumstance. The unpredictability and potential sense of discovery is very exciting and one of the main reasons why he does what he does. Brad's ultimate goal is to create a compelling work of abstract art that engages the viewer and helps fosters a meaningful artistic dialogue.
Brad approacha each new painting with the same consistency that he's employed for many years now which he refer to as “Pattern, Rhythm and Process.” He typically starts each painting by building up layers of paper and/or fabric collage materials by cutting and mounting these pieces onto the canvas or board and arranging them in a way to form the underlying pattern of the painting. This helps lay the foundation for the initial imagery and paves the way for the applications of the other mediums.
The next phase of the work is the part he refers to as rhythm. This starts the mark making portion of the piece as he begins incorporating expressionistic brushwork to create different lines, forms and shapes that get worked and reworked in order to strike the right pictorial balance and to create a sense of “surface tension” that is very important to him. There is a lot of back and forth, pushing and pulling, adding and subtracting of the different paint applications all of which are competing for attention.
In the final process portion of the work, he begins applying layers of the wax-based medium of encaustic. This involves fusing, burning, melting and re-applying this ancient medium in order to achieve surface treatments that can be extremely thick and physical or as smooth as glass.