Discordant Elements: The Art Portfolio of Ellen Cornett

A drawing of three figures with heads from ancient Egyptian mythologyWalk Like an Egyptian, Carbon Pencil

Ellen Cornett’s artworks live in an uncanny space between dreams and reality. The artist’s compositions combine discordant elements rendered in a detailed, realistic style, incorporating human figures, animal faces, and surreal collections of objects.

A pastel drawing of a mad hatter characterThe Mad Hatter, pastel


I love the sense of rich symbolism that I get from looking at Ellen’s artworks. In our previous feature, we looked at the element of darkness in the artist’s surreal tableaux. There’s certainly an undercurrent of drama and intrigue in these – Ellen renders parts of statues, human figures and animals on backgrounds that are sometimes up-front, and sometimes darker and more ambiguous.

A screen capture of Ellen Cornett's art websiteThe main page of Ellen's portfolio website

I enjoy the artist’s recent works in black and white. In these works, the artist tends to eschew backgrounds altogether, presenting her figures in stark negative space. Using carbon pencil, the artist builds up figures in a slightly softened photo-realistic style, allowing her hand to show through just enough to serve as a subtle reminder.

A drawing of a human figure with a fox's faceWhat Big Eyes You Have, carbon pencil

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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