Elizabeth R. Gahan grew up in San Diego, CA. She received a dual undergraduate degree in Global Studies and Fine Art from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters in Fine Art from Claremont Graduate University with an emphasis in painting. Gahan then attended the Banff Centre, Canada to pursued installation art. Gahan has received numerous fellowships, grants, and public commissions including Artist Trust GAP Grant, City of Seattle 1% for Arts, and the Washington State Art Colleciton. Gahan was selected for the Americans for the Arts 2014 Public Art Network Year in Review. Currently Gahan's practice combines 2D studio art and 3D installation art. Gahan is based in Seattle and works from a space at Equinox Studios.
Elizabeth R Gahan
I use architectural imagery and mixed media to portray how humans build their physical and cultural surroundings. The built environment impacts our experience of everyday life, both influencing local communities and economies, while more than ever before pointing to broader global trends. I draw imagery from personal experience and travel. Each painting is an architectural vignette exploring relationships between natural and built environments, architecture and advertising, urban development and existing structures, public space and private experience, as well as organic and hard-edge forms. I utilize current materials and digital design programs combined with painterly techniques. The imagery is embellished with a combination of saturated colors, delicate line-work, ephemeral transparencies, and robust gel applications to represent a contemporary view of the world we live in today. My work strives to balance beauty and inspiration with a critical consideration of our growing urban environments.
In each painting, the sense of movement, instability and growth is alluring and unnerving. Watery backgrounds are beautifully surreal, yet unnatural. The bubble-like forms, gaseous and un-tethered, are an eerie reminder of the constantly changing state of our atmosphere and surroundings. Buildings are painted with translucent walls while foliage sprawls in thickly protruding paint suggesting the delicateness of the built environment amidst an aggressive landscape. Saturated palates used throughout depict natural and artificial environments as extensions of one another. Shiny acrylic foliage is tempting like the glossy finish of a sports car or high-fashion photo. The paintings' plastic textures question the environmental and cultural impact of human production while simultaneously allowing the joy and beauty of exuberant color and graphic pattern to remain. My artwork represents the intersection of constructed and natural beauty in which both pleasure and conflict are present.