Elizabeth Berdann | Statement


StatementPicOn the surface, my paintings are highly focused, detailed examinations of my subjects. My materials and vocabulary are traditional, as most are representational oil or watercolor paintings. However, I use the stratagems of humor, image manipulation and cropping, repetition, a fussy preciousness or a formalist presentation, to draw the viewer into a direct engagement with the paintings.

I am fascinated by the plasticity of bodies and the underlying psychological terrain. My work expands the genre of portraiture by investigating the subject’s relationship to his/her appearance, by addressing self-representation, and by incorporating directly or refusing to acknowledge the notion of the portrait as a reflection of the sitter’s¬†vanity. I find my subject matter variously in physical change (growth, aging, illness, surgery), in alteration from outside forces (water, ropes, chains, clothing), in our genetic experimentation with other species, in gatherings of objects that reflect the inner landscape, or simply in the endless mutability of the human face. This exploration generates a rich array of nonphysical/metaphysical ideas: the dichotomy of the inner/outer experience, the redefinition of beauty, the problem of intimacy, and the marvel of the visible world.