Dana Ellyn   www.danaellyn.com

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Gallery Plan B

Washington, DC
September 10 - October 5, 2008


Full text of article from the DC Examiner - September 16, 2008:

"I Can Not Tell a Lie, But He Did" by D.C. artist Dana Ellyn is on display through Oct. 5 as part of "BrushFire: Political Awareness."

WASHINGTON - Dana Ellyn's eyes are watching you. Look back; these eyes reflect the knowing of truths that contradict facts. The eyes of the characters Ellyn paints, that is.

Catch new views from her perspective in Gallery Plan B's patch of "BrushFire," a nationwide showcase of social activist-artists coloring pre-election public debate literally and figuratively.

Despite the ubiquity of media, "See no evil" isn't monkey business; it's business as usual. Eyes close to human rights abuses, environmental degradation, philandering and deceptive claims out of diplomacy, self-interest, apathy.

Ellyn opens eyes through lushly hued, wickedly witty renderings of the infamous and the ignored. She details the figures with devious precision and hits the bull's-eye with the eyes, those windows to the soul ... or for the soulless, that creamy nougat center.

"The majority of my paintings tend to focus on political or religious themes," the D.C. maverick said while finishing replacements for the unauthorized candidate portraits a fan bought before they reached the gallery.

"Trading Beauty Secrets" presents two young girls trying on traditions from each other's cultures, specifically Asian foot binding and waist cinching in the Western world. Both chased an ideal of unnatural diminishing of anatomical parts in the name of femininity.

"Nowadays, someone learning about the torturous details of foot binding would judge it to be utterly brutal," Ellyn said. "But then you must turn the mirror on the Victorian tradition of corsets - young girls were laced into corsets so tight that it permanently deformed their internal organs. Some girls became unable to sit or stand without the aid of a corset to hold them up."

Moral of the story: "Every culture has its own skeletons of bad behavior tucked away in the closet." If people sought out "similarities instead of differences, perhaps there would be less war," the conscientious observer says.

In Ellyn's hands, the brush is mightier than the sword. As evidence, check the "Media Circus" triptych.

Cross-cultural revelations kept Ellyn's brush moving throughout her July journey across China - except during a rare bout of painter's block. "Some ideas were simply too grand to try and fit on the small-scale canvas I brought," she said.

Keep watch; these ideas will be staring at us in due time. Stare back.


Pulling Rabbits out of Hats
(3rd panel of
"Sarah's Three Ring Media Circus" triptych)

acrylic on canvas
Miss Congeniality
(with her sheeple)
(2nd panel of
"Sarah's Three Ring Media Circus" triptych)

acrylic on canvas
Juggling Act
(1st panel of
"Sarah's Three Ring Media Circus" triptych)

acrylic on canvas
Harry Drops the Little Boy
and the Fat Man
Acrylic on canvas
Year of Presidents series
Trading Beauty Secrets
acrylic on canvas
I Can Not Tell a Lie,
But He Did
Oil on canvas
Year of Presidents series