Friday, March 20, 2015

Spotlight On: Elizabeth Szymczak

Choreographed Color, Elizabeth Szymczak at TAG Gallery, 24 February – 21 March 2015
Elizabeth Szymczak, Repose, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in 
Elizabeth Szymczak's current exhibition at TAG is entitled Choreographed Color.  It features representational figurative oil paintings celebrating the human form using compositionally vague atmospheres, anatomy, light and expression.  Following is text from her Artist Statement.

"I have always had a passion for dance, particularly the juxtaposition between the physicality of the discipline and it’s expressive aspects. Dance is a technical art with its own vocabulary, it takes so much control and rehearsal to achieve the beautiful results seen on stage, and tickles the boundaries of careful thought with unfiltered expression. I see the process of painting the same way, this body of work is a direct mirror of my love for both disciplines. Just as a dancer is trying to find their artistic voice, a visual artist is trying to do the same; yearning for that delicate balance between technique and expression. 
Elizabeth Szymczak, Behind Every Great Man, Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in
My painting style and process takes root in the classical painting principles of the Renaissance. I primarily focus on the contemporary dance genre, as this is the discipline I am most familiar with and less costume gets in the way so that I can study more anatomy. I draw and paint dancers as they move in rehearsal and on stage, which helps keep my brushwork fresh. Because of my dance training, I can choreograph dancers into compositions, which allows me to control the costume, concept and lighting conditions. In addition to working from life and photographs, I rely on anatomy books, invention, travels, thumbnails, drawings, and color studies for referential material. But the real magic happens in the unplanned moments of painting, when I find the right balance between technique and expression.
Elizabeth Szymczak, Reflection, Oil on canvas, 32 x 48 in
As a semi-professional dancer, I toured with small dance companies in the Midwest. I have chosen to continue my passion for dance with figurative painting. I choreograph strong and purposeful figures with emotion and energy. I like to dance on the boundary between which emotions are acceptable to see in public, which is why some of my paintings seem “dark.” For me, the figure can metamorphose into so many conceptual directions, so I try to convey common emotions of the human psyche."

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