November 4, 2010 | 3:30 pm
Born in Denmark but living in Oaxaca (hence her presence at Latin American Masters), textile artist Trine Ellitsgaard practices a genteel, understated minimalism that nevertheless brims with personality. Although trained as a weaver in Denmark, Ellitsgaard’s work is surprisingly reminiscent of the densely sewn abstractions of Ethiopian artist Elias Sime. Perhaps the similarity is entirely coincidental, or perhaps it can be tied to the influence of life in places where modernist abstraction has found an unlikely counterpart in local artistic traditions.
For example, the wall piece “Cut” is just that, a white rectangle woven from paper thread that has been slit down the middle to create a somewhat vaginal shape. Neatly spliced into the fabric on either side of the gap are strands of red horsehair that both suggest a bloody wound and literally heal it, bridging the gap with a fine scrim of horizontal lines. With its elemental color scheme and single stripe down the middle, the piece is like a spare sister to the vigorously striated patterns of Oaxacan fabrics.
More evocative is the piece “Red,” in which Ellitsgaard has taken an elaborately woven palm leaf rope created by Oaxacan women and constructed a loose net in which the warp and weft are made of the same long piece interlaced with itself. The work is both a collaboration of sorts and a succinct statement about weaving as a metaphor for continuity and connection in which the opposing geometries of horizontal and vertical are literally of one piece.
-- Sharon Mizota