IN THE STUDIO WITH LIZZIE GILL
The Mixed Media Artist Discusses How Leaving Urban Life for Country Life
Has Transformed her Work
Portrait of Lizzie Gill During her Residency at Wassaic Project
Lizzie Gill and I met over Instagram in the spring of 2021. In her true entrepreneurial fashion, she instant messaged me requesting a meeting to discuss PR for an upcoming show in The Hamptons. I had very little experience in art PR and fewer contacts in The Hamptons and therefore, in my own entrepreneurial fashion, I focused on design stories on her newly renovated country abode, Night Heron House. A working collaboration soon turned into a friendship once we realized our shared love for horse riding, Ottolenghi recipes, and chilled Pét-Nat. We were two former urbanites bonding over our country-living dreams.
Fast forward to spring 2022, I was visiting Lizzie at her artist residency at Wassaic Project, a non-profit organization that uses art and arts education to foster positive social change, and I was wowed by her latest works of floral arrangements and classical vases layered together in beautiful and enchanting collages. It was a complete change from her mid-century inspired mixed media works that I had become accustomed to seeing.
Now that the works are on exhibit at Standard Space gallery in Sharon, CT, I took the time to learn how life and art has changed for Lizzie since leaving energetic and efficient Brooklyn for artistic and bucolic Litchfield County.
Moonflower, 2022, acrylic, image transfer and oil on canvas, 52 x 40 in / 132.1 x 101.6 cm
When did you know that you wanted to pursue an artist's career? I felt drawn to the arts at a young age. I excelled at it academically and was encouraged by teachers to pursue it, which I think furthered the idea along. I believe an artist’s career is a difficult one to define - there’s the image of the artist locked away in their studio, producing works for a major gallery. But there’s also the pursuit of living your life creatively and being an entrepreneur, which is something I knew I wanted to do early on. Coming up with ideas and fleshing them out into an artwork, or a collaborative project always excited and inspired me, so I knew early on that I wanted to continue down a path that would encourage that kind of creative thinking.
Lizzie Gill's Night Heron House by Theo Coulombe
What was the catalyst for leaving urban Brooklyn, NY and moving to rural Sharon, CT in 2020? I think after living in Brooklyn for so many years, like most people, we wanted a little more space to stretch our legs in the countryside! We had our sights on Sharon before the pandemic, but of course those factors lead to more full-time notions of life outside the city. But what really encouraged me to move to Sharon full-time, was the abundance of creatives I’ve connected with in the area and supportive artistic communities such as the Wassaic Project. I recently finished a three month residency there, where the majority of the works for the exhibition were created, I absolutely loved it.
Dating Pool, 2020, collage, graphite & acrylic on paper, 22 x 30 in / 55.9 x 76.2 cm
How would you describe the art you were creating while living in the city? I would describe my art during that time period as more frenetic. Inspired by the energy of the city, online dating and overheard coffee shop crisis conversations of people dating in their 20's, the work imbued those concepts. A series I created for a while titled “Love is a 12 Mile radius” in which I collaged images of love and romance from 1950’s advertisements and juxtaposed them with online dating terms and pick up lines. I think looking at these antiquated notions of love and romance through the lens of advertising, with a contemporary twist, helped me find the humor in bad dates and the nuances of interpersonal city interactions. The work was truly inspired by the environment, which is how I tend to work.
Artificial Nocturne, 2022, acrylic, image transfer & marble dust emulsion on panel,
30 x 24 in / 76.2 x 61 cm // Artificial Nocturne II, 2022, acrylic, image transfer & marble dust emulsion on panel, 30 x 24 in / 76.2 x 61 cm
How would you describe the art you are creating now after two years of living in the countryside? I would say it's more serene. There is a clarity and balance to the work in the process of making it which is very meditative for me. The color palette is more restricted and the work more minimal. Botanicals and landscapes have worked their way into the picture plane, where predominately figurative subjects would be the focus. I feel the work is now more surreal, an open endedness of interpretation and escapism that the countryside inspires, especially at night.
Dusk Composition in C, 2022, acrylic, image transfer & marble dust emulsion on canvas,
48 x 40 in / 121.9 x 101.6 cm
Tell me about your new show, NOCTURNES, at Standard Space? In this exhibition at Standard Space, the title really encompasses the body of work, which is music relating to, or about the night. The works are a look into starkly lit interior spaces, during those moments between dusk and dawn, where a dreamlike symphony comes to life. My paintings are truly mixed media, encompassing acrylic, image transfer and marble dust emulsion. In the works, blooms spring forth from vessels in a state of half decay. There is a balance to each composition I strike, between the energy of the florals and the vessels that is quieted by the color palette and stark setting, that I love to create. There’s a musicality to the works, often reflected in the titles, such as “Dusk Composition in C.” It’s exciting to see all these works together, engaging with one another, in an immersive space.
Inside Night Heron House by Theo Coulombe
What do you miss most about living in the city? I would say that I miss the convenience. In the countryside, I am my own seamless delivery!
The View from Night Heron House by Theo Coulombe
What do you love most about living in the countryside? The inspiration of nature and seeing the seasons change fully. Living amongst the hills full of quiet snow to fields of fireflies in the Summer is just incredible.
Vessels (Cowboy Traffic), 2022, acrylic and image transfer on canvas, 30 x 38 in / 76.2 x 96.5 cm
NOCTURNES is on show at Standard Space until August 15th. For all sale and photography inquiries, please contact Theo Coulombe, email@example.com. For all media inquiries please contact Victoria Hood, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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