ELIZABETH WILSON is a representational painter based in Philadelphia. Her paintings have been described as small gems, luminous and having a quiet energy. Elizabeth has been a working artist since graduating from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in 1984. She attended the Corcoran School of Art prior to transferring to PAFA for a more focused and disciplined art education. At the University of Pennsylvania, she studied art history and anthropology. She has exhibited extensively throughout the United States including at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, The Butler Institute of American Art, Asheville Art Museum, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Gallery representation has included Gallery Henoch (New York), Mulligan-Shanoski Gallery (San Francisco), More Gallery, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Marian Locks Gallery, F.A.N. Gallery (Philadelphia), Morpeth Gallery (New Jersey), among others. A Retrospective of her work spanning three decades was held at the Patricia M. Nugent Gallery (formally The Lawrence Gallery) at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania in 2009. She has had 14 solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous curated and juried group exhibitions. Her work is held in public and private collections that include the Woodmere Art Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, The Art Bank Collection of the U.S. State Department, Pennsylvania Convention Center Art Collection, Bryn Mawr College, McGraw Hill Publishing Co., the late Marian & Jerry Locks, Sir Ridley Scott, among many others. A longtime arts educator in Philadelphia, Elizabeth taught at various universities/colleges teaching fine art and architecture students. By invitation, she traveled to Italy to teach at the prestigious JSS in Civita (Jerusalem Studio School summer program) where she also had an Artist Residency in 2018. She taught a workshop at the Art Students League of New York in 2015. Interviews and reviews of her work have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, ARTnews Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Painting Perceptions and many other publications. Awards include the Catherine Gibbons Granger Award for Painting, Sandra Karlin Award, among others. She sat on the newly revived PAFA Alumni Council and along with her colleagues was successful at instituting free museum entry and school library access to alumni, initiated a monthly evening drawing session in the cast hall open to alumni, a book award to promising high school students excelling in art, created the annual Alumni Service Award and launched PAFA into the social media arena. Elizabeth is primarily known for her landscapes, particularly of the British Isles, though she has created a substantial number of figurative works, predominately autobiographical. A longtime oil painter, Elizabeth began working in gouache in 1996 while in England and would become her medium of choice for decades. Her landscapes have always been a direct response to her environment, largely inspired by travel. Her work embodies a strong sense of time, place and visual harmony achieved in part through careful editing and at times shift towards abstraction.
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The Logistical Distance of Memory: For the past two years the Covid pandemic has kept me confined to the studio; upending travel plans which were always a rich source of new ideas and new paintings. The social isolation was broken up by frequent walks to nearby woods which developed into a mini series as both paintings and photographs. The textures, tapestry of greens and linear elements were intoxicatingly beautiful but not enough to sustain my interest over time. Thus, the isolation compelled me to work from memory and imagination more than I had previously. I re-explored a coveted location from a past preoccupation…the rocky beaches of the Long Island Sound and the Roman Campagna in Italy where I had visited and worked several years earlier. I also revived memories of visits to the UK and I veered off the path of landscapes and began painting imaginary faces. I alternated between subject matter over this period and it has been interesting to see the work develop and evolve. It is a challenge to make paintings from the logistical distance of memory that possess a freshness, a strong sense of place and atmospheric luminosity. The paintings in this exhibition are examples of work that grew out of this extreme confinement, combined with some of the earlier pieces that informed them.