May 26 - July 8, 2006
Water (and otherwise)

Eleanor Spiess-Ferris (Gallery One)







Chicago-based artist Eleanor Spiess-Ferris well-knows the slipperiness of symbols. As a painter and a storyteller she speaks through her art with curious and profoundly resonant images. Nothing, from the most apparently mundane to the most inexplicable, appears on her canvases without a purpose.

During her 30-year career as a painter, Spiess-Ferris has drawn inspiration for her work from the Spanish Penitentes, Catholic retablos, Indian Kachinas and Native American fetishes of her Spanish New Mexican heritage. Her paintings frequently incorporate symbols identified with feminist spirituality and goddess worship, as well as Classical learning and Christian belief. Seamlessly blending personal memory with a visionary's gift for the fantastic, she can justly claim kinship to such artists as Hieronymus Bosch, Gustave Moreau and Paul Delvaux.

From such disparate influences and interests, the artist has fashioned a private and wondrously poetic myth that is, at once, beautiful and grotesque, comic and tragic, real and unreal, telling and yet, delectably enigmatic. Pondering issues regarding gender, the human condition, death, spirituality and the environment, they are imbued with one of the most unique voices in contemporary art. (Excerpted from the recent essay by Garrett Holg)

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