‘This body of paintings is perhaps the most joyful work I have made to date. Enjoying in everyday magic and finding the space to immerse myself in my work.’

Last year Elizabeth discovered she was pregnant and everything familiar was magnified. Her imagery represents growth, quiet reflection and appreciation for small and often overlooked things.

We met the Melbourne born artist at Camberwell College of Arts MA Illustration show and have been exhibiting her work for a number of years, even after her return to Australia.

Showing alongside is Kilkenny Workshop based artist, Andrew Ludick. His handbuilt, functional ceramic vases and bowls are boldly decorated with colourful shapes and patterns. Diverse influences include Paul Klee, Thelonious Monk, Native American and African art.

You will also see a small collection of necklaces, brooches and bracelets by jeweller, Amanda Caines. She creates unique hand stitched and bound fabric pieces combining semi precious stones, found pottery, wood, tumbled glass and vintage jewellery.

More about Elizabeth

2008-9 MA Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts, London
2006 BA Fine Arts Honours Printmaking, RMIT Melbourne
2002-04 BA Fine Arts Printmaking, Victoria College of the Arts, Melbourne
2001-04 Puppetry & Set Design masterclass, Collingwood, Melbourne

‘Narrative plays a central role in my work, with particular emphasis on the artists’ role as documenter, cartographer and story teller.’

Elizabeth’s practice encompasses printmaking, painting, illustration and more recently intricate textile and paper collage. Her primary training in printmaking has instilled an appreciation and love of fine materials and classical techniques and processes. Her involvement with textiles goes back to a childhood surrounded by handmade clothes, quilts and the delicate embroidery pieces made by her mother.

‘In August last year when I discovered that I was pregnant, small things started to magnify. Suddenly the world felt closer and more intimate as I nurtured this magical seed that was rapidly growing into a human being inside me. Completely overwhelmed by the process of change that my body was undertaking with my first baby, I started making drawings that seemed oddly unrelated to being pregnant. Why would I suddenly be drawing weeds and books? I let the imagery bloom and didn’t question it and slowly as the paintings evolved it became clearer. With pregnancy came quiet time where I enjoy lots of walking and reading. Everything familiar to me was magnified. My imagery represented growth, quiet reflection and a keen appreciation for small and often overlooked things.

On my daily wanderings through the inner city streets, back lanes and by the river near my house in Melbourne, I begin to notice more closely the weeds that spring up in the cracks. They wedge between footpath and fence, along the river banks and in the finest crack in a wall. Stopping often to observe as my little dog sniffs every bush and post, I notice the leaf structure of these plants and the way the flowers bloom quickly and with vigour especially after rain. There is a particular beauty to these plants as they spring out of the most obscure places.

Reading a book on edible and medicinal weeds deepens my interest in the largely overlooked species of plants that line our streets; untamed and unruly and most often unwanted. The majority of these plants are edible and/or possess medicinal properties that are largely forgotten.

I start to collect these weeds on my daily walks and display them in jars of water. Their roots need to be seen through the glass too. The whole plant is completely fascinating. Dandelions with their iconic yellow flowers and saw-toothed leaves, become a recurring motif in this body of work.

Enjoying solitariness lately as my baby grows I focus on these details. The human figure is recurrent in this body of work, more so than before when the work drew on narratives inspired by my travels and adventures through foreign cities. The work returns to the more domestic, observing my neighbourhood from an adjacent hilltop and seeing the collection of coloured roofs condensed onto one plain. Watering the garden and watching plants grow from the smallest of seeds leads to images of gardeners and plants springing up from books and houses.’