Elizabeth Gourlay is an American abstract artist whose work emerges from a progressive process of layering colour, lines and forms, informed both by inner emotional states and her observation of nature and architecture. She lives and works in Chester (CT).
Elizabeth Gourlay studied Drawing and Painting at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland where she graduated in 1983, she then went to Yale University School of Art (CT) where she earned an MFA in Painting.
Elizabeth Gourlay uses a wide range of media such as oil, flashe, acrylic, ink and graphite to create artfully simple and strong compositions.
Her work usually begins with layering washes of colours, then followed by drawings elements.
The colours are sharply and fully selected, using a wide range of colour palettes from almost monochromatic to greatly polychromatic.
Her paintings are metaphorical: some of her pieces allude to science by illustrating experiments with coordinate planes and bar graphs. Some refer to music with shapes defining sound and colour defining volume. Furthermore, some paintings suggest history and culture with covering layers of apparent worn or shredded paper.
Elizabeth Gourlay - artist's studio
Gourlay thinks of her work as a meditation on colours, lines and forms, leading to a complex network of shifting shapes and colours. "The shapes and lines create my own vocabulary of abstract forms."
She has an interest in elements found in nature, architecture and music, drawing lines, grids and geometric shapes to demonstrate it. Indeed, her work is often described by its musicality and architectonic connotations.
The use of line suggests influences from Agnes Martin while her play of colour reminds Paul Klee’s work. Her compositions deal with order and chaos using a line, colour and shape.
James Panero, executive editor of the New Criterion, reviewing one of her shows, says about Gourlay’s work:
“For Gourlay the painterly sound is rhythmic. She mutes her colors of melody to emphasize the syncopation of her forms. In her large square canvases, often named after instruments, she uses collage to layer horizontal strips of paper that have been tinted along their edges, then adds additional squares of paint like regular punctuations. In other examples she stacks her square blocks of color. In others she plucks an edge into a triangle. The overall results are quiet and harmonic, like an ensemble of world music in otherworldly form, here arranged in sublime surroundings."
Elizabeth Gourlay - installation shot
She is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, including two Individual Artist State Grants from the DECD/Connecticut Office of the Arts. In 2011 she was an invited artist in residence at the studio of Sol LeWitt, Spoleto, Italy.
Gourlay’s work is featured in various private and corporate collections including The Lewitt Collection, The Marriott Family and Yale University.
Elizabeth Gourlay has extensively exhibited in solo and group shows on the US East Coast.
Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
Odetta Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Fox Gallery NYC, NY