Ellie Kerr-Smiley

Site Number: 7
Bloom & Grow, Oil on Paper, 8.3 X 11.7 Inches

As a portrait artist, my work always comes around to fundamentally focus on women. Within my work, I look to reclaim the gaze that has historically reduced women to objects; my sitters have agency, they are bold, intentional and, often, as you look at them, they look back.

My work sees a relationship between the portrait and the piece's physical materials which interact, disrupt and peek through one another in a dialogue. The portrait and the page work together to highlight and conceal the sitter. The women I depict have parts of themselves hidden - their full bodies are rarely featured. My sitters are captured, suspended in a moment in time but the viewer is reminded that these are humans with full, rich lives and stories which are private, unshared or perhaps even yet-to-happen. Just as in a conversation, what is said is often as important as is what is left unsaid, lingering in the background.

I am increasingly interested in the idea of art as narrative - a painting containing layers of meaning and intention which craft a visual story for the viewer to navigate. Ideas of memory, space, and personal history recur throughout, reverberating through the abstracted elements which accompany my portraits, be that a wild smear of paint (as seen in 'Outside the Party'), select mixed media (as seen in 'Some of my Parts' and 'Leah the Gardner') or distorted or reimagined backgrounds (as seen in 'The Valley', 'Bloom & Grow',and much of my current progressing work).

Dates for the rest of the year:
Visitors are welcome to visit my studio which is permanently open to the public throughout the year. My general opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, however if you would like to guarantee a meeting with me, I recommend contacting me to arrange an appointment.


The Base
Greenham Business Park
RG19 6HN
Climb the stairs inside The Base to find eight artist studios. Mine is the first on the right.
Opening Dates and Times
Dates for May (11am to 5pm): 
17th May 2024 6-8pm
DemonstrationsRefreshmentsParkingWorking studioWheelchair accessible