Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

EO Art Lab presents: Meridians by Elizabeth Gourlay

In Art on September 30, 2009 at 10:50 am


oliva 4, ink, acrylic, pencil, & collage on paper, 2009


works by elizabeth gourlay

sep 30 – nov 1

tue – sun 10 – 6

or by appointment

opening reception & artist talk

fri, oct 2, 6 – 9


eo art lab is pleased to announce the premier of Connecticut artist Elizabeth Gourlay’s latest body of work in a show entitled “Meridians.” As Gourlay’s sphere of influence spreads beyond New England and New York, it is interesting to note her more intent focus on ancient maps from around the world as a source of influence.  However, as with all of Gourlay’s influences, there is never any literal translation, but rather a conceptual or emotional one.  Nonetheless, a more nodal and territorial aspect can be detected in much of the work.  The rhythms of longitude and latitude and the graphic conventions of color and texture are also evident.  More abstractly, much of the work presents a sublime, confounding sense that what appears to be an object or place is actually a ghost or void.  This heightens the spiritual and allegorical quality of the work.

Gourlay thinks of her work as a meditation on color and form.  The work emerges from a gradual yet progressive meditation that leads to a complex network of shifting shapes and colors.  She often begins with a background layer of washes and then works with elements of line and shape in the foreground.  The color may become muted and minimal, admixing into grays and earth tones or they may be vibrant and intense.  Her process clearly parallels musical composition, as the eye, mind, heart and hand move around the piece element to element, as note to note, forming chord, discord, harmony and tone.

“The shapes and lines create my own vocabulary of abstract forms.  They are resonances with inner emotional states, elements of feelings or sub-conscious thoughts combined with conscious thought about architecture and geometric structure.  I move pieces around; bars, lines, rectangles and squares, creating notations and orchestrating a whole.”

As described, Gourlay’s work represents a process of layering color and form based on fusing the act of painting with imagination, feeling, and experience.  This threshold is characterized by the tension between the seeming order presented by a grid, a line, or a geometric object and the actual visual imperfection of these elements.  The colors, so acutely and effectively selected, resonate and vibrate and jockey for prominence.  The thickness or length of a line, the orientation or position of an object, the breadth or narrowness of the space in between all activate our sense of composition and motivate our desire for meaning.

Gourlay’s paintings are allegorical.  They speak of science as they document experiments with Cartesian planes and bar graphs.  They speak of music as shapes represent sound and colors represent volume.  They also speak of history and culture through overlapping layers of seemingly worn or tattered paper, unraveling threads of ancient textiles, and scattered symbolic imagery juxtaposed with repetitive patterning.  Gourlay has been especially influenced by African textiles, specifically cloth made from traditional and found materials from Ghana once seen at the Metropolitan Museum; Celtic manuscripts; Indian miniatures; as well as 17th Century paintings from Rajasthan that create color coded mantras; the quilts of Gee’s Bend; and the works of artists Giorgio Morandi, Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, and Agnes Martin.

Gourlay is working in a way that has infinite possibilities.  She sees entire worlds within the simplest of gestures.  Even at her young age, she has realized incredible acclaim and attention.

Elizabeth Gourlay studied Drawing and Painting at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland.  She received her Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Yale University.  Her work has been exhibited and studied in both museums and galleries throughout New York, Connecticut, California, Maryland, and Indiana most notably, The Drawing Center in New York City, the Widener Gallery at Trinity College, The Hecksher Museum, and the Cummings Arts Center at Connecticut College.  In 2008, she was invited to exhibit with the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts in New York City.


In Near By Events, Theatre on September 7, 2009 at 8:22 am


Our next Actor Party is Monday, September 21st. It starts at 6:30pm in our studio at 26 Plains Road, Essex (the green Victorian house across from the old Iron Chef). Contact Jeanie if you have a scene/monologue you would like to read. We encourage you to come and bring friends. Everyone is invited! Please RSVP and BYOB.