Grotesques, 3:05 TRT, 2014, single channel video HD, 16:9, color
I perform on video things I am bad at, things that scare me, imagined and real fears. I perform all the characters and I have a level of performance anxiety that once was marked by crippling migraines and nausea. This image was shot over a year. Grotesques is named after the cave that once was Nero’s palace in Rome, where this quilt like style of image arrangement was discovered by the Renaissance Italians. I like this name as it has come to mean “ugly” and “inappropriate” where once it described images cataloging order, beauty, color, property and possessions. This particular image describes many things: the least recognizable might be Rapunzel’s wandering in the wastelands with her children in search of her missing prince. There is also a Venus Anadyomene shot on the coast in Haifa, an inappropriate déjeuner sur l’herbe, coupling bugs, Magritte nesting dolls, a semi-naked Victory, and very clumsy yoga. I like to create improbable elisions of space within the image and in relation to other images. My process of piecing together an image is like a cut paper collage in which all the bits of paper contain moving images.
Ellen Wetmore’s artworks inspire a blend of humor and horror. Her work focuses on lived experience blended with well-honed paranoia, using her body as the primary vehicle. Wetmore’s video projects have been featured in screenings at the Sandwell Arts Trust in the West Midlands, UK, Ciné Lumière in London, the Dorsky Gallery in Long Island, NY, Currents, Santa Fe, New Mexico, CologneOff, Cologne, Germany, Videoholica in Bulgaria, and the MIA screen in Cairo. Her most recent work is on the 80-foot tall 7-screen marquee at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. She is a 2012 School of the Museum of Fine Arts Traveling Fellow and a finalist for the Museum of Fine Arts Boston solo show award. In 2014 she was the subject of an exhibition at the Sarah Doyle Gallery of Brown University and in 2015 she had a solo show at Living Arts of Tulsa. She was a summer 2015 visiting artist at the American Academy of Rome and served as a juror for the video dance festival InShadow of Lisbon. In 2016 she will be a resident at Signal Culture in Owego, New York. “Art is the mitigation of an atrocious world.” She lives in Groton, Massachusetts and is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.