November 17 – December 22, 2017
Opening Reception: Fri. November 17, 6-9pm
Image: Tree (detail), 2017. Gouache and graphite on paper, 20.75 x 17.5 inches.
SOHO20 is pleased to present First Bloom, an exhibition of new gouache paintings, collages, and video by member artist Elizabeth Bisbing. Many of the works on display were made during a trip to Florence in the spring of 2017, among the early season blossoms. Bisbing spends most of her time drawing and painting in the gardens, in direct observation of flora. Her work is sensual and playful, but contains an immediate energy that resists the preciousness often associated with the subject matter.
In her painted works, it is the negative space that fights for attention. Each brushstroke activates the gaps between bluebells and hyacinths, suggesting a vitality that exists beyond the limits of her subject’s skin. A prominent element is Bisbing’s use of water – the most basic element for terrestrial life forms. Both depicted and physically infused into her materials, water provides these compact works with an underlying vigor.
Incorporated into her collages and video is Bisbing’s recurring character, Little Betty Jane, an embodiment of youthful naivety, who is dwarfed in this series by the other elements in the work. This scale shift reminds us that she is, and maybe we too are, not always the main event, and sometimes, nature needs to take over.
As the opening of this exhibition falls near the anniversary of the 2016 election, Bisbing will have a selection of sketchbook works for sale – the proceeds of which will go directly to fund Planned Parenthood.