Elyssa Sykes-Smith

Elyssa is a Sydney-based artist whose work is founded on the principle that a simple pose or gesture has great communicative and expressive power. She is interested in translating as opposed to imitating the figure, to suggest embodied human experience, often deconstructing her figures and creating abstract forms. She likes to express how it feels to be in a body.

Elyssa has used The Lab to continue her study of the human form. This installation is an intuitive response to the site and so the sculptures themselves are forced to navigate their own reality within the created environment. The figures are at a point of tension where they are supporting the timber mass from which they originated, while also resisting it.

Elyssa has attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) Sculpture Major from the National Art School.


2014  People’s Choice Prize, Sculpture at Sawmillers, McMahons Point
2013  Staff Choice Prize, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi
2013  Participant, Heath Ledger Young Artists Oral History Project, NFSA
2012  The Julian Beaumont Sculpture Prize
2012  Clitheroe Foundation Mentorship, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi
2011  People’s Choice Prize, Arts In The Valley Sculpture Exhibition

'Puzzled' Series

Working from the figure this series explores the physical and emotional state of my subjects; dissecting their forms through abstracted expressions and experimental materials. We begin to view their bodies differently, like a puzzle, our eyes informed from our knowledge of people piece the fragments together in the attempt to make sense of what we know - or perhaps merely what we presume to know. Constantly confronted with the dialectic between the rational and emotional I am beginning to accept that not all puzzles inherently fit together, and the rare moment that they do is subject to inevitable change.