Le Magiciennes de la Terre: L’art et la Nature au Feminin
By Virginie Luc
Published by Les Editions Ulmer Paris, 2017
Ellie Davies, the enchantress – Extract from the Publication
She walks a long way to the tight, dense heart of the woods, where “there is almost no sky”, she says. “Being alone is an important part of my practice because it allows me to experience the woods in a quieter and more personal way. It often just sit down and listen for a while before starting work in order to absorb and familiarise myself with the setting and to start to notice the small sounds, the wind, animal and bird life, runoff of the river.”
Born in London in 1976, Ellie Davies grew up on the edge of a medieval forest, The New Forest, in Dorset, in the South of England. “The woods are an integral part of my childhood. The first seven years of my life seems like an idyllic time. My parents were always exploring and teaching my twin sister and I, challenging us to make connections between ourselves and the outside world. We ran wild on the open land and woods around our house, and, looking back, my sister and I were rather unsocialised. My parents initiated me to the art – painting, sculpture, photography, and above all, the art of living in and by nature “.
Her studies in London (MA Photography, London College of Communication 2008) and her work as a photographer assitant removed her from the New Forest for seventeen years, before returning in 2015 to the land of her childhood.
“My work is an attempt to reconnect with my native landscape and find out if these memorized and imagined places can be mine again,” says Ellie Davies. A backpack with her Pentax, food and her “indispensable” tea thermos, she paces the mythical and original space. Sometimes Ellie delicately modifies the natural scenes with a series of temporary interventions, creating lakes of light on the floor or using craft materials such as paint and wool to highlight the composition. Thus a shrub covered with gold shines in the center of the darkness, a path of powdered ferns winds through an undergrowth, strands of wool or plumes of smoke connect the trees to each other, a shelter of twigs under the crown of a beech tree. Her small poetic installations are like traps to guide our gaze and lead us as close as possible to …
In our turn, we are at the heart of the stage, virgin of all human presence, uninhabited – except by our own imagination, fed by tales, myths and legends. We advance in the images of Ellie Davies as in an enchanted forest. That of childhood which contains and delivers all fears and all wonders. “Something inexplicable happens when you enter a forest: the air cools, the sounds change, all your senses are on alert, you are more careful and vigilant. This opening to the outside is inherent to childhood. As adults, the pressures and tensions of life paralyze us. The power of the forest is its ability to take us back, to remind us of our childhood selves where our imaginations ran wild, of those insular moments totally immersed in a game or inner dialogue so that when it ends if feels like coming out of a dream”. Ellie Davies is said to be a photographer. I believe her rather illusionist and poetess.