Surrealist Sculptures Blend Plant and Animal Life

Sculptures Rely on and Defy Tradition

Read how this artist combines materials to create her surrealist sculptures:

Ellen Jewett deer

Ellen Jewett combines a variety of largely found objects in creating her works.

She has coined her pieces as “natural history surrealist sculpture.”

The combining of elements mirrors her multi-faceted background. She has worked in a variety of fields, including medical illustration, caring for exotic animals, animation, and anthropology. The detail and anatomical structure required in these fields carries over into her current works, albeit a large dose of imagination is added into the mix today.

Ellen Jewett owl

When first looking at her works we recognize an animal. Upon closer inspection we can see a variety of themes in the piece.

At first glance my work explores the more modern prosaic concept of nature: a source of serene nostalgia balanced with the more visceral experience of ‘wildness’ as remarkably alien and indifferent.  Upon closer inspection of each ‘creature’ the viewer may discover a frieze on which themes as familiar as domestication and as abrasive as domination fall into sharp relief.

More and more she is taking advantage of the negative spaces as well as her unusual choice of materials.

Because she does not use commercially available materials, her pieces require her imagination to pull pieces together in a new and unique way. She often likes to leave some element of imperfection in a piece as a nod to the fact that it is authentically hand made.

Ellen Jewett The Foxes Curiousity

One of the striking aspects of her work is the lighter-than-air quality many of them have.

Jewett contends that despite the apparent complexity in her work, the creation process is quiet simple.

She models each piece by hand, balancing precision and chaos, realism and fingerprints.

 In the spirit of surrealism, this psychological approach to artistic expression creates a rich network of personal archetypes and motifs that appear to occupy their own otherworldly space. Within this ethereal menagerie, anthrozoology meets psychoanalysis as themes of natural beauty, curiosity, colonialism, domestication, death, growth, visibility and wildness are explored.


To learn more about Ellen Jewett and her artwork, visit her website.