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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Elizabeth Barlow

Elizabeth Barlow

In my current work, I am exploring the portraiture tradition by using objects -- or belongings -- rather than faces to explore the human experience. I think of these paintings as "portraits in absentia." For me, all personal objects tell a story of their owner, in the process revealing so much about that individual’s psyche and life experiences. A pair of shoes, for example, might speak of the desire for luxury and adornment, the need for protection or the simple utility of a working life. Each of my recent paintings is a portrait of a person I know or have met, and by using their shoes as a stand-in for the self, I am revealing something truthful about their personalities, choices and journeys.

I have long been intrigued by the power of a solitary object—a luscious pastry, a pair of stiletto heels, a ripe pear—to ignite the imagination. I find a lone item challenging; it pushes me to delve more deeply into an exploration that uncovers and conveys the details of its owner’s narrative.

In the tradition of my heroes Vermeer and Zurbaran, I use light to create aura. I place my subjects under a spot light, as if they are on “center stage,” to heighten the air of mystery and grandeur I see in the story I want to describe.

In the past year, I have become fascinated with shoes as emblems of the person who wears them. The deep emotional content inherent in these very personal objects presents rich opportunities for storytelling.

Honorable Mention Award Winner, Southwest Art Magazine's Artistic Excellence competition
December, 2011 view

Featured artist in Professional Artist Magazine view pdf

“Family Connections”, Artist Focus: Philip Barlow and Elizabeth Barlow
American Art Collector Magazine view pdf

“Double Take”, Artist Focus: Philip Barlow and Elizabeth Barlow
American Art Collector Magazine view pdf

“Dad, Daughter Share Exhibit” Park Record

Salmagundi Club, New York City;California Art Club; Oil Painters of America

Art Students League of New York

Art Studio Certificate, UC Berkeley Extension, Awarded with Distinction in 2007

Master of Arts, History, University of Virginia

Bachelor of Arts, University of Utah


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