“With her large scale fine paintings and her comprehensive collection of prints, Ellen Van Laar represents the spirit and landscape of the stark north shore of Lake Superior.
Like the European fin de siècle symbolists and post-impressionists from whom her aesthetic is largely derived, Ellen rebels against the constraints of naturalism and establishes a more equitable and independent relationship between art and nature. She shifts her emphasis away from similitude-the imitation of natural effects-towards the expression of feeling for her subject. Her large-scale canvases usually have heavy impasto and bright colors and are boldly summarized with attention drawn to surface patterning. She is looking for new and different ways to portray the beauty of the landscapes, often including native symbolism.” Christiane Husemann