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Ellen Rutledge: “Little Green Men” and other small things that populate her life

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that catch our eyes: a cupcake with a red cherry on top, a fork or knife on the dinner table, or a chair with a pair of gloves resting on the seat. Ellen Rutledge’s prints capture such objects against various collage backgrounds and bring attention to the details of objects that are at times overlooked.

Ellen’s piece, Little Green Men, is currently shown in our Small Works exhibit. Part of a series of 3, a grid of 9 evenly sized squares depict simple and ordinary objects, the last of which contains the namesake of the collage. As a mother, Ellen has tripped over these little toy men one too many times, and their prevalence in her life are reflected in their presence in others of her pieces, sometimes orange and sometimes red, but smiling happily all the same.

Ellen tells me that she likes things that are more ordinary, and how her pieces tell a story. Each object poses the question of why it was chosen. Her art process involves thought about layering, texture, color, and text, but each of her prints are unique and different, a quality of her art that Ellen enjoys.

Her start in printmaking began in art school. Ellen fell in love with paper, with both its texture and the feeling of drawing; she even suggests that there is a link between the hand and the head that should be studied. Her focus on paper and printmaking has stayed constant, but thematically, her pieces have evolved throughout her art career: Ellen finds that as she grows older, she includes more and more nature in her pieces.

Ellen taught at the Kirkland Art Center for 17 years, and though she no longer teaches, her experiences teaching are no doubt a strong influence on her life. Ellen remarked on how community reframes your thinking process, and how the community in classes helps one to grow in so many ways.

If you want to find Ellen and her work, check out her website and her Instagram @ellen.rutledge.

Small Works From The Artists of Building 30 West opened November 2 and can be viewed through December 16. Also come visit our Open Art Studios event on Saturday, December 2 from 12-4 pm at Building 30 West!

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