b. 1975, USA

Elizabeth Neel Artworks

Blending representational elements with abstraction, Elizabeth Neel's paintings are marked by a tension between organic and methodical forms of production. They are at once gestural and linear, thoughtful and spontaneous, demanding for full immersion.

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Careful Compositions

Neel's paintings begin from a set of ideas that are organically related and later expressed across dripping strokes, abstract forms, and arches. A degree of randomness emerges as a result, at times engaging art history and at others opening the composition up to chance.

Early works like Melting Out (2004), an aggregation of dissolving objects set in an ambiguous landscape, are inspired by photographs of Ötzi, a 5000-year-old mummy discovered in the mountainous region of the Austrian-Italian border. The painting blends varying techniques to mimic the process of decay, revealing fragments of rubbish and discarded clothing, seemingly returning to the earth.

Abstracted Observations

Neel's paintings have become increasingly abstracted over the years, first offering distinct impressions of ambiguous but recognisable landscapes that incorporate cultural and historical references, but later departing from this framework.

Accordingly, acrylic paintings like Stranger's End (2021), a blend of forest green and frost white on strips of dripping yellows and brown, appear as expressive smudges, while in the bottom right corner, traces of a broken line carefully punctuate the composition.

Process

Neel's later paintings draw from observation and photographs sourced from the Internet, which the artist first sketches onto canvas and then paints with 'varying degrees of intensity', opening into an exploration of narrative and painterly space.

Entangled forms emerge following the application of acrylic paint using diverse tools like rollers, rags, or the artist's hands. Neel has expressed a preference for acrylic paint for its light application, which allows for greater layering and a faster drying process.

Resulting works like Deposal (2021) often appear explosive, characterised by wide dripping strokes in muted palettes, at once restrained and violent. The vague hint of an insect in the upper left corner points to the figurative roots of the abstracted scene.

Female Experience

Neel's paintings often use abstraction to enquire into physical and psychological states, notably narrating the female experience, conveyed as emotive lyricism and violence.

In Eve (2021), a bleeding vulva-like shape framed by a dripping arch is foregrounded by a pointed red spear. Wrapped in a strip of clouded pink, the spear contrasts with the soft contours of the composition's shapes, where supple forms intertwine with the rigid.

Likewise, The Magda (2021), in which a butterfly shape sits against a bright orange backdrop with yellow and brown splatters trailing behind it, appears to allude to the violence that accompanies the supposed emancipation of women.

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Madman with Motive by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Madman with Motive, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
185.4 x 124.5 x 3.8 cm
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Substance of the Sign by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Substance of the Sign, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
177.8 x 198.1 x 3.8 cm
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Deposal by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Deposal, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
193 x 243.8 x 3.8 cm
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The Magda by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel The Magda, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
193 x 243.8 x 3.8 cm
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Eve by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Eve, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
185.4 x 124.5 x 3.8 cm
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Stranger's End by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Stranger's End, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
193 x 243.8 x 3.8 cm
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Sinner/Saint by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Sinner/Saint, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
185.4 x 124.5 x 3.8 cm
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Life of a Flounder by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Life of a Flounder, 2021 Acrylic on canvas
185.4 x 124.5 x 3.8 cm
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The Things They Carried by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel The Things They Carried, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
129.5 x 78.7 cm
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Dominion by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Dominion, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
182.9 x 114.3 cm
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Herald by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Herald, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
243.8 x 165.1 cm
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Minor Gods by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Minor Gods, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
124.5 x 96.5 cm
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Fevered Days by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Fevered Days, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
193 x 348 cm
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Velvet Head by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Velvet Head, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
266.7 x 200.7 cm
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Flitted Seed by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Flitted Seed, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
200.7 x 175.3 cm
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Nightjars and Allies by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Nightjars and Allies, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
200.7 x 617.2 cm
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Rapid Buckling of the Loud Song by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Rapid Buckling of the Loud Song, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
152 x 610 cm
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Slip Strike Indicators by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Slip Strike Indicators, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
167.6 x 96.5 cm
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Once Swaddled Ever so Gently by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Once Swaddled Ever so Gently, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
193 x 243.8 cm
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Double Wrangle by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Double Wrangle, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
266.7 x 198.1 cm
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Look Return Look Between Wing and Fence by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork mixed media
Elizabeth Neel Look Return Look Between Wing and Fence, 2014 Oil and spray paint on canvas
124.5 x 109.2 cm
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Speech Writer by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Speech Writer, 2014 Acrylic on canvas
198.1 x 182.9 cm
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Fixtures Morning to Evening by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Fixtures Morning to Evening, 2014 Oil on canvas
243.8 x 193 cm
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Reasonable Doubt (For Ara Dymond) by Elizabeth Neel contemporary artwork painting
Elizabeth Neel Reasonable Doubt (For Ara Dymond), 2016 Acrylic on canvas
274.3 x 200.7 cm
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