ClampArt is pleased to announce Scott Daniel Ellison’s first solo exhibition in New York City. On very small, intimate canvases Ellison paints animals that he has seen firsthand on excursions over the course of his life. From skunks and sloths to opossums and ocelots, Ellison’s creatures span the wild species. While occasional vampires, werewolves, and beautiful young women enter the mix, Ellison is, for the most part, an animal portraitist—a modern day John James Audubon, if you will.
A self-taught painter, Ellison’s darkly humorous works echo some of the Scandinavian folk art he admired while living in Sweden. Originally trained as a photographer at Purchase College and then the International Center for Photography, Ellison cites Diane Arbus and Ralph Eugene Meatyard as major influences, which is apparent in the deadpan compositions and the mood of many of the pieces. Ellison’s strict and distinctive style links canvas to canvas, and the paintings often lend themselves to Salon-style displays in clusters and groups. Narratives are largely eschewed as Ellison’s animals confront the viewer straight-on in environments generally stripped of all detail. We have stumbled across these beasts in their natural habitat, and it is not clear who will make the next move.