Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Second Look: Elizabeth Blackadder

Self-Portrait with Cat, 1976, Oil on Canvas

Bathers, Esterel, France, 1966

Japanese Flowers Still Life, 1969

Still Life on White

The crazy thing about Elizabeth Blackadder is how well known she is as the 'cat and flower' painter.  Its not actually only crazy, its annoying, because I find her work to be so much more than its subject matter.  

Of course many of the painting's subjects come from the things around her life.  But she is an incredibly interesting and varied picture-maker.  The compositions are cobbled together in a way that feels they could be scared away with a whisper or crumble any second.  The picture planes are often very flat and things are able to float about until a strong vertical appears.

Her work also seems very relevant to work being made today.  Look at Katherine Bernhardt's new work of hamburgers and rugs, or the painters in this  article on 'new imageists'.  Painters taking stock of the things around them, at times nearly documenting them in a visual list.  

So many painters can benefit from looking at her work, it is one of those bodies of work that is giving to other painters.  Unlike an artist like Van Gogh, a wonderful painter, but someone so individual you can't learn from and take much back to your own studio.  Her work seems to have something for everyone, not just cat and flower lovers.

Do yourself a favor and instead of google imaging her name, add 'still life' or 'interior" to the end.


katy gilmore said...

I love Elizabeth Blackadder - all her images - so it was such fun to see her name and self-portrait in the feed just now - thank you! She's very inspiring! And I'm eager to look at your links.

Aubrey Levinthal said...

Yes! She's so great!

annamaria potamiti said...

Thank you for writing this! I always felt extremely annoying, and perplexed that she was seen as the 'flower and cat' painter. Her work is varied and innovative is so many more profound ways.

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