In conjunction with the current NUMU exhibition, More Than Your Selfie, curator Marianne McGrath has been hosting a series of fascinating conversations with exhibiting artists. Saturday was with Elizabeth Barlow who is known for her Portraits In Absentia, hyperrealist pantings of people and relationships as seen though their personal objects.
Beyond the beauty and masterful technique of these paintings (seen above in postcards), they invite the viewer to feel what it’s like to be this person by standing in their shoes for a moment. There is a shared intimacy in our relationship with these personal objects. When Marianne McGrath approached Elizabeth Barlow about the exhibit, the artist was challenged to turn this gaze onto herself, resulting in Self Portrait (In Absentia) which she painted especially for More Than Your Selfie.
Elizabeth Barlow Self Portrait (In Absentia) 2015 oil on linen courtesy of Gallerie Citti
More that a visual representation of how the artist appears, the Elizabeth Barlow chose to paint a collection of objects that represent her influences, objects that have meaning to her and in doing so, not only give us insight into her character, but also invite us to think about which objects we would choose to represent ourselves.
We were treated to a glimpse of a work in progress that the artist brought in to help describe the evolution of a painting. There is much care and thought in the selection and arrangement of the objects and to the type of lighting and the shadows that are created. The composition has to be perfect.
In the course of the conversation we got to learn all kinds of interesting information from the artist, her art background, wonderful stories behind the paintings, specifics of her studio practice, favorite tools, how working for the opera influenced her work, the fact that her father Philip Barlow is a painter in Utah where she is originally from.
It was great seeing Elizabeth Barlow again. I had originally met her at the Silicon Valley Art Fair last fall where she was represented by Gallerie Citti of Burlingame, and I can tell you she’s as gregarious and fun as she is talented! I just realized at the talk that I had seen and greatly admired her work, Portrait of a Marriage (a loving depiction of men’s dress shoes) years previously at the Triton Museum of Art! I love when that happens!
More Than Your Selfie runs until May 15, 2016 and the next conversation will be with Julie Heffernan, Saturday, March 13 from 2-3 at the New Museum Los Gatos, 106 East Main Street in Los Gatos, California.