I Can’t Quite Get the Hang of It

[Elizabeth Newman: Untitled (2013) cotton thread on canvas]

Elizabeth Newman was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1962 and studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in the 1980s. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions and more than twenty solo exhibitions within Australia and overseas.

Using simple everyday materials, Newman’s abstractions employ pre-conscious and primal gestures to encourage subjective responses. With the simple act of a cut, Untitled (featured above) creates optical effects by juxtaposing the wave of the three-colour pattern of the fabric with its reverse. In this way, the work references the formal techniques of the Op Art movement.

  • Newman’s work addresses questions of representation and subjectivity and engages with a formalist-conceptualist discourse.

Over the years, Newman has expanded her practice to include painting, found objects, collages, text-based works, photography, sculpture and writing. She says she tries to avoid the trap of technical proficiency by shifting mediums and modes to evade any mastery that develops in practice.

Newman appreciates the spirit of spontaneity, naivety and uncertainty which she continues to pursue in her art-making process. Her innovative and experimental approach to art has been a significant influence upon her contemporaries as well as a younger generation of artist.

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