Elena Stokes

Clinton, NJ



Artist Information for Elena Stokes

Without realizing, recycling has been a part of my life since early childhood. I literally grew up in hand-me-downs which I believe contributed to my obsession with thrift shopping and flea markets, vintage clothing and linens, and basically all things textile. The quilt, with its historical practice of reuse, is a natural choice of medium for my artistic expression as is the reuse of old discarded silk saris from India.

In my current work, I use the horizon as an abstract concept for a personal and universal symbol of the unending process of transformation. Vistas and wide open spaces have been an antidote to the claustrophobic decades I lived in a dense and dirty urban environment. That move from urban life to country living transformed not only my day to day life but the direction of my art as well. Lovely sari silks, now tattered and torn, have undergone their own transformations from utilitarian function into abstract form. Even the quilt has emerged from its cocoon of domesticity.

Complex textures of delicate frayed edges, intentionally left exposed and vulnerable, counterbalance the minimalism of my abstracts as well as enhance the loose impressionistic sensibility of my landscapes. The distressed quality of my textile collages add to the visual and metaphorical language of the work which embrace the precious fragility and beauty of the imperfect and impermanent.

By blending textiles and textures with the transformational, I arrive at a visually layered destination of color, light and space.

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Infinity V

Infinity V26 x 40  

Infinity VI

Infinity VI46 x 84  

I see horizontal lines everywhere in nature. Lines formed by water lily pads floating in the distance across a large pond inspired this abstract scape.


Infinity43 x 67  

Infinity follows in the American tradition of re-purposing old clothes into quilts. Beautiful old and discarded silk saris from India are re-purposed and transformed, undergoing a kind of reincarnation to a new life and transcending into a new body, a body of Art. "Just as a person puts on new clothes and discards old and torn clothes, similarly, an embodied soul enters new material bodies, leaving the old bodies." - the Bhagavad Gita on reincarnation.

Horizon III

Horizon III12 x 12  

Horizon II

Horizon II8 x 6