Recent Exhibitions & Venues
Women in the Arts Festival | East Lansing, MI; November 8 & 9, 2019
Broad Art Lab Makers Market | Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum – Michigan State University; East Lansing, MI; April 27 & 28, 2019
Cataclysm | Mid-America Print Council conference; University of Wyoming; Laramie, WY; Oct 2018 | Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT, Sept – Oct 2018 | Glass Gallery at Lamar Dodd School of Art; University of Georgia; Athens, GA; Aug 2018 | Salt Grass Printmakers; Salt Lake City, UT; July 2018 | Rocky Mountain Printmaking Alliance conference in Pullman, WA; April 2018
*This is a traveling group exhibition of a print exchange organized by Sukha Worob (Montana State University).
Really Big Prints Again!* | Wriston Art Center Atrium at Lawrence University; Appleton, WI; Dec 2016 – May 2017 | Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum; Two Rivers, WI; Oct 7 – Nov 30, 2016 | Rahr-West Art Museum; Manitowoc, WI; July 31 – Aug 28, 2016
*This is a traveling group exhibition of steamroller relief prints organized by Berel Lutsky (University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc), Ben Rinehart (Lawrence University), and Katie Ries (St. Norbert College). In collaboration with Rachel C. Allen.
Our Natures (solo exhibition) | Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center; Sioux Falls, SD; April 16 – August 7, 2016
Unique Impressions: The Bluegrass Printmakers’ Cooperative | Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery at Georgetown College; Georgetown, KY; March 23 – May 2, 2016
Edinboro National Print Competition | Bruce Gallery at Edinboro University; Edinboro, PA; February 3 – 26, 2016 | Juror: Karen Kunc (Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Mid America Print Council Juried Members’ Exhibition | Elmhurst College; Elmhurst, IL; October 26 – November 22, 2015 | Juror: Nicole Hand (Professor, Murray State University)
Artwork | Creative Research
“A close look … reveals that these printed botanical forms are not representations of any naturally occurring plants. Rather, these leaves and vines are hybrids of flora both observed and imagined. Lena B. Ellis-Boatman is preoccupied with the intersection of nature and human invention; she is interested in how what we know – or think we know – defines our experience of the world.” –Sarah Odens, Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center
I work in printmaking, fibers, mixed media, and installation. In my artwork I explore our ideas about the natural world and how human systems of knowledge shape our realities.
In my prints and other small-scale work, I explore our perceptions of the natural world, working from a combination of observation and imagination. Through these organic, botanical forms, I express my respect for the natural world and share my awe at its sublime power.
I invite you to meander within branches and rhizomes, navigating a forest, a thicket, a grotto, an eroded riverbank – with plant roots brushing past your head. I hope to evoke a mixed sensation of discomfort and wonder. We can appreciate the beauty and complexity of the natural world while recognizing we are not in control of how it operates – or how it may respond to our human presence.
My larger work and installations use similar imagery. They become microcosms of the natural world, but they also serve as metaphors for our worldviews. I’m interested in the interplay between the material world, the fluid worlds of our imaginations, and the human-made knowledge systems which structure our diverse daily experiences.
I try to tease out how we think about our worldviews and question the knowledge systems we have inherited. Moving around, within, and between these large-scale artworks lets us step into, out of, and between microcosms – suggesting that our worldviews, our macrocosms, are more mutable than we might expect.
People in academia expect you to list your research interests. Mine include worldviews, construction of knowledge, history, narrative, internal landscapes, dreamscapes, fiction, early modern natural philosophy and cosmology, folklore, myth, archetypal characters, and saints. My additional long-term interests include women’s, feminist, and queer identities; magic realism; medieval literature; and “women’s work.”