Eliza Douglas’ large-format paintings captivate audiences with their distinctive style and a recurring theme: namely, the artist’s hands. In her bold works, the artist focusses on naturalistically painted hands, as well as sometimes feet, on white backgrounds. These are executed in diverse and dynamic ways; Sometimes Douglas dissolves the limbs into loose, abstract brushstrokes from the wrists or ankles onwards, turning them into pure and simultaneously graphic painting which is in part reminiscent of Impressionist brushwork in terms of style or borrows from Abstract Expressionist techniques. Douglas combines representational and abstract painting by creating novel transitions from one to the next. The body may be lacking in these constellations, but is nevertheless conjured up by the reduced brushstrokes and the dynamic shape of the extremities, as a fragmented yet elastic anatomy. The artist’s hands have been closely linked to creative work throughout art history. In Douglas’ work the creative hands virtually dance around the absent body at the end of grotesquely long arms. Despite the paintings containing no clear references to other artists or explicitly contemporary themes, the hands seem to reference our current living reality, in which a connection to the digital world is made via the hands. Here, the body recedes while the hands explore ever new worlds through the keyboards and screens of digital interfaces. Sometimes multiple hands in Douglas’ paintings create an entire network; they interact with and amongst themselves, creating a reflection of the immaterial connection via digital channels on her canvasses.
Douglas’ works approach the creation of paintings through the application of paint with a brush in a highly innovative way. Her meta-paintings are one possible answer to the question of what painting can be in the 21st century.
A booklet with essays by Anna Fricke and Nathaniel M. Cunningham will be published to accompany the exhibition.
A performance by artist Eliza Douglas will take place on Friday, 17 February at 6.30 p.m. Eliza Douglas is an artist, musician and performer and a student at Städelschule in Frankfurt/Main.
Six times a year, the new exhibition format 6 1/2 weeks will present young artists from around the world, in shows organised spontaneously with only minimal advance notice. For all of these emerging talents, this will mark the first time their work is being shown in a major institution.