Elizabeth Gower has been exhibiting innovative work, including collages and wall hangings, since 1976. Her interest lies in the human desire to create order from the chaotic. Gower creates stunning abstract compositions from humble materials, with an emphasis upon translucency, fragility and impermanence. Her practice draws much of its content and form from the world of the everyday – commercial images and objects as well as familiar and domestic materials such as newspaper and tissue paper. Exploiting the associations evoked by such banal material, her work has often been connected with a feminist sensibility; however this framing should be countered with recognition of the strong aesthetic concerns at play.
Select solo exhibitions: Cuttings, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 2018; Delineations, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2017; he loves me, he loves me not, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, 2016; Matrix, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2015; 365 Rotations, AC Institute, New York, 2014; Monochrome, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2012; Amor Infiniti, AC Institute, New York, 2009; Artefacts, Cite Internationale des Arts Gallery, Paris, 2007.
Select group exhibitions: Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2020; Unfinished Business: perspectives on feminism and art, ACCA, Melbourne; Elevating the Everyday, The Town Hall Gallery, Melbourne, 2018; Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 2017; Virtual Reality, Point B, New York, 2016; Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2014; Collage: The Heide Collection, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2013; Black elastic, two umbrellas, a mint leaf and wheels, MUMA, Melbourne, 2012; Stick it! Australian Collage, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2010; Cubism and Australian Art, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2009.
Through her sustained commitment to collecting and collage, Gower brings beauty, structure and order to the urban detritus of our contemporary lives: imbuing value in the discarded; archiving the ephemeral; elevating to the status of art certain forms and practises derisively considered ‘women’s work’; and inviting us to deeply consider our consumer-driven lifestyles and fundamentally change the way we see and the things we do.Lisa Sullivan, 2018