December 18, 2013

Studio Night Last Night: Thinking About My Show

This exhibit is about travel - the paintings are of Spain and of London - but they are also about processing a trip after it is over. The trips I take live on in my head forever, plus I have records of them in the sketches that I make on location.

I started the Tiny London paintings soon after returning from London and they feel like how I would think about the trip so soon after it: little snippets of an image or memory, or of a feeling of walking down a particular street, would come back to me here and there.

After more time had passed and I had taken more trips, I started making some of those paintings bigger. By then the memories about and feelings of the trip began to shift; some were more vivid while some faded. In making the Small London paintings, I played with the colors and moved the forms around.

The paintings of Spain I call, "Learning to Say I Love You in Spanish." They are of a village called Robledillo de la Jara and the countryside around it, and of Madrid. My husband and I went there in 2010 with my uncle and aunt and several cousins to visit my aunt's mother; it was our first experience traveling with others. We fell in love with the place and made a friend for life. It was the kind of magical trip that is transformative, but transforms over time into a thousand different stories and feelings.

It took me over three years to process the trip enough to paint it. These paintings are meant to feel more like sketches in the way they were made, and to feel more like memories in the way they are loose, with oddly paired imagery that is slightly unreadable in places.

The exhibit, April in Paris and Lessons in Spanish, with Martha Kelly's watercolors and prints of Paris, is up until January 2nd at Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry Road, Memphis TN.


Sue Pownall said...

This post has made me think.

Wish I could see your exhibtion.

Elizabeth Alley said...

Thanks! I have to make myself write about the work I make, but it makes me think, too, and helps me to talk about my work.

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