Elizabeth King graduated this year from RISD with her MFA in painting. In 2011, she received her BFA in painting from Boston University.She lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. Beginning in September, she will be the nine month artist in residence at the Emerson Umbrella in Concord, Massachusetts.
I make loud, shy paintings. Despite their large size and bright colors, they are constantly trying to slip as far back in to the weave of the canvas as possible. I build up thin glazes of dye using wax resists, which result in areas that feel deeply spacious next to areas that are abruptly shallow. I weave together complex silkscreened passages on the surface to function as a speed bump, to slow down the viewer’s navigation of my paintings. A quickly read painting is the enemy. I think of my paintings as screens, allowing air to flow freely through the interlocked layers. I leave space for air to get through, as it is the only relief in otherwise claustrophobic paintings.
My paintings encourage looking. The narrative, which initially appears to be the main attraction, is only the opening act. At a distance, the scene depicted seems clear, but moving closer doesn't bring more clarity. The image instead disintegrates, leaving only the colorful residue of the first impression. I paint marks to draw attention to the surface instead of working in service of the narrative. The ambiguity of the story may at first feel frugal, but is made up for with the richness of color and texture that sit in the surface. Once inside my paintings, the hope is that the viewer is no longer concerned with getting immediate answers and can start to adapt to the visual language of brushstrokes and color.