Ellen Peckham

Confessional Self Portrait: Mollusk
24″x18″; solarplate etching with ink on radiant white; 2010

Ellen Peckham
Riverdale, New York, USA


Collage, for me, is a vocabulary that offers varying visual images as mutable letters spelling out with juxtapositions messages, poems or reconfigured environments. As I use them with etchings, they are stage sets that enhance what was simply a print, providing mood, information, another level of sensuality and colour, colour.

A printmaker and poet for many years, I pushed and stretched my work to express passion, loss or memories, often including text in the etchings, always searching for more emotion, specificity. Asked why I continue to refashion “finished” work, I quote Keats who said, “…the excellence of every Art is its intensity…” *

In many instances, the image to be used had strong personal associations and from that I chose items of history; tickets, fabrics, labels and dried vegetation, an old fan, ripped silk from a robe. It often seems this things are imbued with something that makes their inclusion another level–one beyond my usual materials.

So when I took up a plate that had served, I thought, its purpose and brought it down on a collage from the same inspiration, I found a mix that lets me go on driving the many ways of communicating. It has been a source of great and continuing enjoyment and adventure.


Ellen Peckham has read, published and exhibited in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. She frequently uses both art forms in a single work, the text decorating and explicating and the image illuminating. Her archives of drafts, edits and art are collected at the Harry Ransom Center For The Humanities and a 7-minute visual biography, Parallel Vocabularies, is available on DVD and via her website, www.ellenpeckham.com.


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Printed Collage: Mollusk (seaweed)
24″x18″; solarplate etching with inked tarl, striped paper, rice paper, strings; 2013

Printed Collage: Anson, Anson
24″x18″; solarplate etching, black shawl with fringe, silk, menus, book plates; 2013

Printed Collage: Nest (rose)
24″x18″; solarplate etching with fan, magnolia & butterfly kimono fabric, black flower paper, embroidered silk strip; 2013