NEW BRITAIN – The New Britain Museum of American Art will launch its newest series of exhibitions in its recently restored Landers House, entitled Elizabeth Gourlay: Eclectic Threads. It will be on view starting Oct. 7.
It will be Chester-based artist Gourlay’s first solo exhibition at the museum.
“I recognize many influences to my visual thinking,” Gourlay said. “I can sense some from the house I grew up in, designed by my father, and in turn with influences ranging from Japanese design to the Bauhaus. His was a unique style that included white stucco exterior walls with broken symmetry in window shapes and rooflines. His open interior spaces held elegant geometries often punctuated by dark wood trim. My mother, an interior designer, has also been a strong influence with her masterful use of color and love of fabric and textiles. My parents often collaborated, and I was introduced through them, to many dynamic, poppy colors, and designs of the 1960’s, in addition to the subtle rich and harmonic colors of Jack Lenor Larsen’s fabric.”
The group of collages and paintings on display spans from 2011 to the present and shows her studio exploration of color and form.
“My collages are created from found and painted paper pieces, cut and arranged in playful, ordered or chaotic ways,” she said. “The works are the starting point for gouache paintings and larger works which evolve gradually as I work with changes in scale, color, light and shape.”
In addition to the early influence of her parents, designs of the 1960’s and colors of Jack Lenor Larsen’s fabric, Gourlay shared that some of her early influences have come from studying artists, architecture and textiles from different cultures, including the work of Anni Albers and Paul Klee.
“There is a continuous and eclectic threading of ideas, in this body of work that reflects these interests and the explorations of my vocabulary of bars, lines, colors and shapes,” she said. “It is my hope that these forms and colors evoke the emotional and the aesthetic threads and that they present the viewer with an opening to a cultural but also a personal and purely abstract experience.”
The Landers House highlights local artists that contribute to the cultural enrichment of our region and beyond.
The New Britain Museum of American Art is located on 56 Lexington Street.