Ella Barnes lives in NYC making visual art and working in beauty retouching and fine art business. SHE, her most recent work, is a series that investigates contemporary womanhood through a combination of collected stories and photography. Each work of the series began with a story submitted to Barnes by a woman in answer to the question: “how has the world shaped your understanding of womanhood?”
The collection of stories she amassed over a 4 month period represents a snapshot of contemporary womanhood within the sphere of her social environment. She compiled and then took the time to investigate and meditate on each story, in order to produce a series of corresponding images that allow the viewer to engage with the material in an exercise of empathy. It is thus Ella’s fervent desire to share these stories – and collect more in order to broaden the scope of the image she is piecing together of contemporary womanhood. Ella hopes that those who read these stories start and end with the words when they investigate the work. It is for all the women who share and don’t yet share these stories that she makes and shares this work.
“It is important for me to also point out that while the words you will read are all from women, you will not see any images of women in the series. This is part of my initiative to divert from the investigation of the female form as a gesture of respect and reverence. I believe that as a fledgling woman and creator, I must first take the time to listen and process before making, and that spending time with the words alone is a great and instructive exercise for me.”