This body of work emerges from my continued exploration of color and form inspired by everyday life in the studio. Small collages and gouache paintings are the initial inspiration. The collages are created from found and painted paper pieces, cut and arranged in ordered, playful or chaotic ways. The collages are the starting point for the gouache paintings and larger works which evolve gradually into explorations in color, light and shape.
I recognize influences from the house I grew up in, that was designed by my father, whose influences ranged from Japanese design to the Bauhaus. His was a unique style that included white stucco exterior walls with broken symmetry in window shapes and rooflines. His open interior spaces held elegant geometries often punctuated by dark wood trim. Our house included a pair of unique windows shapes that echoed the angled roof lines above them. Unexpectedly, many of the new paintings evoked the shapes of these unusual windows of my childhood.
During this time of the pandemic, many of us have become more aware of windows. I have found myself looking out into nature or an industrial or architectural landscape or seeing light edited by a window, creating shapes and patterns on a wall or a floor. Such shapes and colors seen in the architectural and natural landscape have also informed these paintings.
I was pleased to read the derivation of the word window is from the Old Norse “vindauga”, which means “wind-eye”. A window as an eye, is an opening that suggests both interiors and exteriors. It is open-ended in meaning. This reflects how I would like people to view the work. The paintings explore color and rectangles within rectangles. Those with shaped edges, activate the space around them. My combinations of found forms and colors evoke the emotional and the aesthetic, and present the viewer with an opening to a personal and purely abstract experience, an unexpected window.
Elizabeth’s Gourlay’s work has been shown extensively throughout the United States. The artist is the recipient of numerous residencies, fellowships and awards including Artist in Residence at the studio of Sol LeWitt in Spoleto, Italy. Gourlay’s work has been written about in The New Criterion, Painters’ Table and Gorky’s Granddaughter, to name a few. Gourlay earned her MFA at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT, and her BA from Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland. The artist lives and works in CT.