Currently Closed
Marvin Touré
the blood is the water.
View Exhibition
Catalina Schliebener Muñoz
Deep, Deep Woods
View Exhibition
Isla Hansen
How to Get to Make Believe
View Exhibition
Andrea Peña
States of Transmutation
View Exhibition
Asim Waqif
Assume the Risk
View Exhibition

After School

Teen Art Cooperative
Our Mission

The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

Learn More About Us

David Ellis

Summer Quintet #17

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce at elit quis felis ullamcorper vehicula non in est. Maecenas finibus pharetra justo et faucibus. Nulla eu tortor vel ex volutpat efficitur. Vivamus placerat turpis in aliquet venenatis. Quisque ac lacinia mauris. Nam quis lobortis elit. Vestibulum sagittis nisi sit amet euismod hendrerit. Mauris non sodales odio. Donec efficitur molestie quam, sed lobortis massa vestibulum ut.

Nunc at arcu sodales nisi porta euismod non vel neque. Phasellus at lobortis ante, in suscipit justo. Proin non purus vitae nisi molestie consectetur. Vestibulum volutpat lobortis interdum. Vestibulum pretium ligula lorem, egestas ultricies lectus ultricies ac. Curabitur venenatis vulputate dolor.

Artist Statement

I work within a range of mediums, often combining time-based methods with more traditional modes of image and object-making. Twenty years ago, I began a series of these works I call Motion Paintings. In them, I examine the process of paintings that change, layer-by-layer, day-by-day over an extended period of time. Most of these projects are painted on a large floor and documented with a digital camera mounted to the ceiling above, programmed to take a high-resolution image every few seconds. In this mode, I’m struck with a boundless energy and an expanded range of technique, style, and subject matter, the final result being a film of changing imagery with nothing remaining of the physical paintings. This latest work removes the film-making element and focuses on the layered paintings themselves, letting them resolve after a period of time, preserved to be viewed as an installation of large layered works.

I begin by recording hundreds of simple preliminary drawings and notations on stacks of paper, a swirling of ideas that serves as my point of departure. These “studies” run the gamut from doodles to detailed renderings and are made while sitting alone and in the company of others, often while listening to recordings, news commentary, music and podcasts. After this synthesis, I initiate the canvases with painted bands of color, spills, detailed lines, shapes and washes. Some refer back to the preliminary drawings; others are born in the moment. I use a flat, water-based, highly pigmented paint formulated for the theater industry as it does not glare and reflects light evenly, much like a gouache. What the works become over time are not premeditated but the result of a process that is in constant reaction to the day before, sometimes changing directions and obliterating hundreds of hours of work completely, at other times allowing bits to peek through. Knowing when they are finished is simply a gut reaction.

While in the process of traveling and developing other projects, the work here was made during a 4-month residency on the east coast of Florida, an area still recovering from the effects of last year’s massive Hurricane Matthew and this year’s Irma. Although not deliberately aware of doing so, it now seems clear to me that I was having an emotional response to that landscape in all of the work. The large feathered figures embody the spirit of calm before, during, and after a storm, while the abstractions evoke terraforming events like large storms. In this case, the ideas extend beyond weather patterns and into the undercurrents of what seems to be rapidly churning into the most polarized and politically divided time I’ve seen in my life.



About The Artist

David Ellis received his BFA from Cooper Union. David Ellis' work interprets music and sound. His paintings are often recorded in a form of digital time-lapse animation Ellis calls motion painting. Like jazz, these works provide Ellis with an opportunity to combine ideas with collaborators or work solo within a form that promotes improvisation and spontaneity. For a recent commission the artist painted a truck from sunup to sundown over five consecutive days. Ellis often stages events when exhibiting his motion paintings, inviting musicians, performers, and sound artists to interpret the work live. His motion painting, Paint on Trucks in a World in Need of Love was recently exhibited at MoMA. Ellis' paintings are frequently improvised. He works directly on the walls of spaces that remain open to the public during installation and shares the making of the work with viewers. The experience is much like a band playing in front of a passing audience. Ellis further explores sound with kinetic installations that produce analogue sequences in rhythm


Give artists the time, space and resources to create remarkable works of art that help us see our world in new ways.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram