Ellen Eagle was discovered by Forum Gallery director, Robert Fishko, during the 2000 juried exhibition at the National Academy of Design. Although her work was surrounded by many larger, more colorful pieces, Mr. Fishko was immediately drawn to the delicate, subtle, yet thoroughly solid portrait made by Ellen Eagle. Having mastered such a difficult medium, Ellen’s pastel portraits accurately portray her sitter’s likeness, but also captures the soul of each subject she encounters. We are compelled by these little gems, returning to them again and again, each time discovering another layer of the sitter’s psyche.
The artist’s self portraits are also remarkable. Never “dressing herself up,” Ellen truthfully depicts each flaw, exposing each vulnerability within herself. While most of her models avert their eyes, with heads turned or facing down, Ellen’s self-portraits always show the artist looking at the viewer straight on, as if to directly engage them. These drawings contain the same unspoken, mysterious narrative of her other works, but in her self-portraits, Ellen invites us in. We are no longer voyeurs peering into the lives of her subjects, but rather, she becomes the seer, and we the audience.
Ellen Eagle studied on both coasts-first at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and later at the National Academy and Art Students League in New York. She has participated in exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Butler Institute of American Art, Lincoln Center, NY and the New Jersey State Museum, NJ and is the recipient of several awards including the Edward R. Mooney Traveling Scholarship.