Tar paper is a peculiar, ordinary, flexible, smelly and evocative medium. It takes all media, it’s durable, and it has its own intrinsic metaphors. Tar is a primeval petroleum product, which has literally come to the surface recently in our minds: oil spills, fracking, climate change.

I grew up making frequent visits to the ooze of the La Brea Tar Pits in my native Los Angeles, where animal remains are still excavated. For me, this underground source of fossils, fuel and prehistory is analogous to the upwelling of images from a mysterious source.

THE BOOK OF KNOWLEDGE, 2011, screw binding, black book cloth cover, 40 pages, edition of two. 26" x 32". Materials include plaster, shoe polish, gouache, vermilion pigment, spray paint, metallic pen, graphite, silver mylar, solvent, waxed paper, metallic pigment powder. In the collection of The Brand Libraries, Glendale CA. First prize winner, Brand 40 Competition, Peter Frank, juror.

"Slip on cotton gloves and lift the heavy black pages of Ellen Ziegler’s tar paper Book of Knowledge, inhale its pungent links to prehistory and be dazzled by the sparkle and mist of the many media that float on and sink into the paper." Penina Finger, The Machine Chronicles.

Upcoming exhibit: Unhinged: Book Art on the Cutting Edge, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham WA. September 27, 2015 – January 3, 2016. Reception, September 26, 5 - 7 pm.
 "This exhibition surveys recent directions in book art through 70 diverse works by 63 prominent artists from across the country, Great Britain, and Australia. Unhinged explores the limitless potential of the book as an independent medium through both intimately scaled pieces and large installations."