Elaine Hullihen is an interdisciplinary artist who investigates relationships, materiality, actions, and processes. She uses the tools of sculpture, performance, collage, fiber arts and printmaking to make work that toggles between the studio, collaboration, public art, and education. Her work serves to activate a tactile space of experience with creative curiosity.
A Northeast Ohio native, she earned a BFA in Sculpture with a minor in Theatre from Kent State University in 2008. She is also a MFA-Interdisciplinary Arts program candidate at Sierra Nevada University. She regularly presents work in the Cleveland area.
As an extension of her artistic practice and curiosity, she teaches weekly yoga classes with a specific focus on trauma-informed care. She enjoys travel and has participated in residency programs in Chile, Scotland, and Germany. She lives in Cleveland Ohio.
I use a variety of materials, frequently fabrics/fibers, that have lived a life before they became art. I look for vibrant interactions that create energy between materials and draw the viewer into a sense of tactility. Used materials, especially clothing, connect me to both the personal and the social in important ways.
I think of the personal because fabric is often intimate to the body and its specificity can elicit thoughts of memory, their/our inevitable decay, and the passage of time. Fabrics are used to warm, swaddle, comfort, rest, and can have a significant role in healing. Fabric that has lived with a body may carry physical remnants such as skin cells, sweat, hair, etc.
In addition, the ubiquity of fabric connects it to the social. I think of my own waste not/ want not economics that connect to class and environmental concerns, fast fashion consumerism, and, last but not least, the well-worn metaphors that arise with the process of weaving and our interdependency as humans.
These ideas are integrated into my work through the themes of presence, embodiment, and systems of support. By thinking about healing, communication, containment and connection/disconnection, I want viewers to enter a familiar, yet strange, thoughtful place of contemplation and creativity that gives potential for new ways of interacting with the world.