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Ellen Wetmore

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  • Smoke
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Birth year

Lives in

Works in


School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2000, MFA
Tufts University, 2000, MFA

Representing galleries

exhibition/performance, sculpture, surrealism, photography, digital, figurative, video-art, realism, feminism video-art



My video work is about simple, absurd gestures, and psychological states made physical. In form, the videos are moving photographs depicting simple, absurd gestures. There is a Tex Avery comic quality to the actor’s discovery of her own frailties and misfortunes.

"Visiting Dora Maar" began as a study of “falling apart” and “pulling oneself together”, visually considered in the lens of the canonical art history portrait. Dora Maar, an artist, was Picasso’s lover. He created a portrait where her features seem to fracture, move about in space and time and come undone. I evolved this into a moving image meditation of identity and self-assembly using video images of myself.

The gesture depicted in “Shredding” is to mutely grind my head away at a stack of art material, loosing my physical body in the process. "Shredding" is a meditation on my art predecessors, who are intimidating and who are shown in the video in art monograph book form.
Navel Gazing” is rooted in discoveries of motherhood and the psychological and physical transformations of this new state of being. The maternal body morphs in uncontrollable ways and a weird alchemy occurs in the gut. "Navel Gazing", is a play on the narcissism of motherhood and the horror of the unexpected thing growing inside. "Up in Smoke" came from a dream.
“Sleep Deprivation will be Televised” is a self portrait inspired by insomnia and the muddle of dreams and late night television that occupies the space of sleep. Ultimately these images transform the user into nothing more than a cathode ray tube head


Ellen Wetmore was born in 1972 in Madison, Wisconsin. She received her M.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University, and her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan. Since her emergence in 2004 with her first Boston Sculptors show, she has blended the influences of Surrealist and Feminist art with her own unique iconography. Her work explores the corporality of the female body and its surreal transformations through sculpture, video, photography, and large digital wall drawings. For her, art functions in an aesthetic and revelatory capacity: “Art is a way of mitigating the atrociousness of everyday life.”

Ellen Wetmore’s artworks inspire a blend of humor and horror. She begins with an idea and then decides how best to manifest that idea visually. Focusing on lived experience blended with well-honed paranoia, Wetmore’s work uses depictions of her own body as its primary vehicle, stretching it visually to convey her concepts. As critic Cate McQuaid has written: “Her works comically deflate, poke fun at and savor pregnancy and other bodily wonders and indignities. Her work is both funny and vaguely creepy.”

Wetmore is a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery LLC, where she will have her fourth solo show in November 2011. Ms. Wetmore has also exhibited at the Dorsky Gallery in Long Island City, the Fitchburg Art Museum, Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood, the Art Complex Museum, and the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College. In 2007, Wetmore’s Land o’ Lactation was featured in the exhibition Trainscape at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. This year she was featured in seven national shows. Ms. Wetmore is an assistant professor of art at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell; her work can be found online at and at She lives and works in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Recent Exhibits

Ellen Wetmore participated in these exhibits:

Oct, 2013 MIA presents LUCID STREAMING
Armory Center for the Arts
Mar, 2013 B*tch Fest
Upstairs at the Market Gallery
Jan, 2013 Art on the Marquee
Boston Convention Center
Dec, 2011 WATCH IT
Taubman Museum of Art
Nov, 2010 Mothers
Woman Made Gallery
Jan, 2010 From the center now
Woman Made Gallery
Click here to see all exhibits for Ellen Wetmore
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