Laura Ellen Bacon’s Monumental Willow Works Ebb and Flow in Amorphous Masses


#Laura Ellen Bacon

July 3, 2024

Jackie Andres

an organic sculptural form made from willow and tree branches wraps around a column in the room of an abbey.

“The Feeling Remains” (2022). Photo by Jean Michel Rousvoal. All images © Laura Ellen Bacon, shared with permission

Laura Ellen Bacon transforms hundreds of pounds of willow branches into amorphous, oscillating forms. Ascending upward along the side of a building, wrapping around abbey columns, and situated in the English countryside as if manifested out of thin air, each monumental structure commands its environment.

The Derbyshire-based artist has worked with willow for more than two decades. She describes listening to the material intently and noticing how each branch carries a unique line quality. Finding beauty in accumulation as she weaves countless segments together, Bacon creates what she refers to as “three-dimensional drawings.”

Though some of her pieces can weigh upward of 500 pounds, each evokes a sense of fluidity and movement. “The work I make is fixed and motionless, but I attempt a sense of organic growth,” Bacon explains. “I enjoy the visual impression that the work is not finished growing and may slowly continue to reach, grasp, or take over the site.”

Her newest installation, “Rejuvenation,” engulfs the Denver Art Museum’s atrium, towering more than twenty feet high. The prodigious work is inspired by the natural root systems of willow itself, capturing how its capillary networks trail and expand.

See “Rejuvenation” through the fall, and find more sculptures on Bacon’s website and Instagram.


“Rêverie” (2023)

an ivory-hued, curved organic form made from willow and branches rests on the ground next to a brick wall

Detail of “Rêverie” (2023)

a curved organic form made from willow and branches wraps around the base of a tree in a forest

“Don’t Let Go” (2019). Photo by Michelle Tennison

a curved organic form made from willow and branches ascends upward

Installation view of “Rejuvenation” at the Denver Art Museum. Photo by DAM Photography

a curved organic form made from willow and branches ascends upward toward the ceiling inside of a gallery room

“Inundation” (2014). Photo by Dewi Tannatt Lloyd

a curved organic form made from willow and branches ascends upward, leaning against a house

“Split Forms” (2012)

a detailed view of woven willow

Photo by Sebastian King

the artist holds a bunch of willow as she stands next to a tangled organic form made from willow and branches in the forest

Photo by Alun Callender

#Laura Ellen Bacon


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