Emerging Detroit-based artists Ellen Rutt and Patrick Ethen are a collaborative duo who specialize in large-scale installation art that is immersive, playful and often imbued with a strong sense of place. As compulsive makers, they’re happiest when their outfits are covered in a proprietary blend of paint and sawdust. Patrick is a light artist and architect, while Ellen is a painter and graphic designer. Having such different skill sets provides a unique opportunity to explore territory neither of them might tread on our own. Within their distinct disciplines they find considerable overlap in their interest in color, patterns, textures, space, good house music, puns and breakfast burritos.
Previous installations and murals have sampled details from the architectural heritage of their host cities, and the representation of community as a patchwork quilt is a recurring theme in their art. The “Lincoln Park Patchwork Mural” (LPPM), the newest iteration of this concept, incorporates contributions from local community members directly into the composition and introduces the element of lighting to the wall as a way to illuminate the surrounding neighborhood in new, inspiring ways.
Patrick Ethen (Instagram: @patrickethen | Website: patrickethen.com)
Patrick Ethen is a Detroit-based artist and designer. His work has been previously seen as large installation sculptures at various events including Detroit’s internationally-renowned Movement Electronic Music Festival. Ethen’s work takes viewers directly to the source of vision: light. As his intuition led from architecture to his current artistic practice, complex patterns of luminous bulbs which comprise each of his hand-wired pieces seem to have intuitive motion that engages the viewer immediately. Embodying the rhythms of Detroit and Chicago’s own electronic house music, Ethen pairs sound and visual senses as light stimulates receptors of the eye. Hypnotizing patterns travel along the plotted lines, as represented in his pencil-drawn Gravity Mandalas.
The body of work presented in Light Works, which includes proximity sensor activated Mira, Mira (one of many collaborations with Ellen Rutt), is literally and figuratively electric, enlightening the audience with the possibility to create synergy between hard-wired architectural design, the artistic eye, and the influence of sound. Ethen will also be presenting work in the niche windows at David Klein Gallery Detroit, curated by PLAYGROUND, which opens to the public along with Kari Cholnoky’s solo show on February 6th. These light works will be visible to passers-by 24 hours, seven days a week.