welcoming Receptive regenerative Actions


Embracing restorative actions, land poetry, and communal pondering, Elyse (in her personal practice and as part of the collective ee portal) weaves ecological philosophy along with embodied practices, which culminate into creative multidisciplinary works.

Restorative actions can be understood as any action that brings about some type of remembering of ignored, forgotten, discarded or erased entities, objects, events, qualities or essences.

Land poetry emerges as images, sounds or words whose source can be quite paradoxical (is it coming from me, or from that meadow?) while standing in a place, on the land, some where on this Earth – so, land poetry is a deeply entangled and specific phenomenon.

Communal pondering is a type of inner revolt to the status quo, especially the ideology that sees the Earth and all its inhabitants as some sort of human playground for industrial extraction, what Timothy Morton has coined as agrilogistics – a 12,000 year old anthropocentric ideology, which emerged with the on-set of agriculture and religion. Communal pondering is the desire to rebuild and regain an honest exchange or transmission not only with humans, but also with the entire biosphere – the symbiotic real.

The ecological philosophy that both Elyse and the ee portal collective are currently engulfed in is the object-oriented-ontology (OOO) school of thought, especially the work of Timothy Morton. In his 2017 book, Humankind, Morton describes the symbiotic real as “special non-explosively (implosive) holist interconnectedness”. Morton’s term for one of the phenomenal aspects of the symbiotic real is subscendence, which can be understood by the following phrase: the whole is always less than the sum of its parts. What this leads to is an ecological and philosophical understanding that all objects (humans, and nonhumans alike) are irreplaceable and intrinsic to the whole. As OOO is concerned, it uses a flat ontology approach to understanding reality, which entails that all objects (including all life forms, ideas, inanimate objects like cars and fridges, and hyperobjects such as global warming and the internet) are valued equally. This is a radical departure from correlationist philosophy (subject/object, or human-centered paradigms), and has profound implications for art and all aesthetic domains.

So what does it mean to be ecologically aware? Might it mean to actually cause less damage, or less violence? How can art exemplify this type of awareness – the embodiment of kinship?

Background & Exhibition History

Elyse has a BFA from the University of Victoria, and a master's degree in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto. Materia medica, her master’s thesis, has been published in the Journal of Comparative Media Arts (Simon Fraser University, 2015).

Since 2011, she has also produced ecological art within the collective ee portal (comprised of Elyse and Emilio Portal).

Elyse’s work (as a multidisciplinary artist, independent curator, and with ee portal) has been part of the following exhibitions: claybank (Eco|Femin|Isms, The White House Studio Project, curated by Vicki Clough, 2018); stars pour through (ee portal: 7a*11D as part of 7a*md8, Nuit Blanche McEwen School of Architecture, Sudbury, 2017); Materia medica (Decelerated dialogues, York University, 2017); 3 ways of working with plants (ee portal: WKP Kennedy Gallery as part of the multi-arts festival, 2017); handmade fire (ee portal: G Amani’s Garden Skool, SAVAC, Toronto, 2016); daylighting (Reconstructing Resilience Symposium, OCADU, 2016); (re)member of water (ee portal: Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Sudbury, 2015); buried waters (Quest Art Gallery, Midland, 2015); microhabitat/self-deception (ee portal: Supernova, Burlington, Toronto, 2015); Journey into Fantasy (McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, 2015); Materia medica (University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto, 2014); claybank (Whippersnapper, Toronto, 2014; University of Victoria, 2012); Juglans manos (Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Sudbury, 2013); who is this land am i (ee portal: University of Toronto, 2013); friction (ee portal: University of Toronto, 2013); urbeing (Xchanges Gallery, Victoria, 2012); Mark Laver: Shining Examples (Legacy Art Gallery, Victoria, 2012); aline (Upstairs Gallery, Victoria, 2012); Greenish (Open Space Arts Society, Victoria, 2011); Species-at-Risk (Ministry of Casual Living, Victoria, 2011); advanced life support unit (ee portal: Upstairs Gallery, University of Victoria, 2011); listening arms (Mary & Moses Sculpture Garden, Saanich, 2011); Taché (Audain Gallery, Victoria, 2010); Real Eyes (Canadian Heritage, 2007-09); Elements (Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, Yellowknife, 2008); Lost & Found (Javaroma, Yellowknife, 2006); Flower of Life (Somba K'e Public Art, Yellowknife, 2004); Reclaimed (Old Town Glassworks, Yellowknife 2004).

Awards: Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance (ee portal: 2017, 2015), Master of Visual Studies Graduating Scholarship (2014), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2013-14), University of Toronto Fellowship (2013), Jamie Cassel's Research Award (2012), Fine Art Festival Bursary (2011), Pat Martin Bates Scholarship (2011), Royal Bank Scholarship for Innovation (2009), The Tenline Sales Material Award (2009), and the NWT Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant (2007).

While developing claybank and listening arms – both centered on the claybank site, she received the Dr Lorene Kennedy Environmental Studies Bursary from the University of Victoria.

Along with producing ecological art and teaching art, she has been a teaching assistant for the University of Toronto's School of the Environment. Elyse has also been trained by Eliot Cowan in Plant Spirit Medicine, whose approach to non-humans as aware and reciprocal beings is always considered and integrated into her making processes.


elyseportal at gmail dot com