Watercolor and Pastel Artists at CHAW

Ellen Cornett featured in new exhibit at Hill Center, September 15 – December 31

Nineteen pieces of Ellen Cornett’s story-telling art are on display at the Hill Center Galleries in Washington, DC. All of the art is shown online at this link, with dimensions and prices. During this pandemic surge, the gallery is controlling in-person access, but it’s easy-peasy to schedule your visit by calling (202) 549-4172.

Show’s title, “Animal Crackers,” couldn’t be more appropriate.

Ellen often uses folk tales in creating what she calls “ambiguous narratives.” Ambiguous, indeed! As she says, “absurd possibilities lurk. . . .”

Here are six of Ellen’s works in the exhibit:

Ellen Cornett: How the Rhinoceros Got his Skin. Carbon pencil. [This image harks back to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories (1902). I was going to leave it at that, but then I read the story and find it delightful, so you must read it, too]:

There was once a Parsee living on an uninhabited island in the Red Sea, with a shiny hat, a knife and a cooking-stove. One day he mixed a fruit cake and put it in the stove to bake. When it was done, a Rhinoceros with a smooth, tightly-fitting skin came along, upset the stove and ate the cake, while the Parsee took refuge up a tree.

On a very hot day five weeks later, the Rhinoceros took off his skin, which buttoned underneath, and left it on the beach while he bathed. The Parsee filled it full of stale crumbs from previous cakes, so that when the Rhinoceros put it on they tickled. He rolled and rubbed himself against the tree, till his skin went into great wrinkles and the buttons came off. Ever since, rhinoceroses have had wrinkly skins and very bad tempers because of the tickly crumbs inside.

The Parsee packed up his stove and went away.

Ellen Cornett: The Four Musicians. Carbon pencil. [Based on the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, “The Four Musicians of Breman.” Look it up, for crying out loud; I already gave you the Rudyard Kipling story.]
Ellen Cornett: Rock Paper Scissors. Carbon pencil.
Ellen Cornett: Michabo and the Great Flood. Carbon pencil. [From an Objibwe legend about the Great Flood that destroys the earth. Spoiler alert: The muskrat is the hero.]
Ellen Cornett: Shades of Gray. Carbon pencil.
Ellen Cornett: Jack the Donkey. Carbon pencil. [It’s Jack and the Beanstalk! And, as we all know, Jack was an ass.]

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2021 by in Carbon pencil, Exhibitions, Gallery and tagged .
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