For the exhibition Monochrome, Elizabeth Gower has created a new body of work focused on the visual contrast between black and white, whilst also continuing her subtle and nuanced examination of commodity culture.
Having engaged the byproducts of consumerism as both topic and material source since the 1970s, Gower’s latest works further develop her interest in the speed of consumption and the seduction of advertising imagery. Using abundantly available and easily collected material such as food packaging, brochures and cuttings from magazines, Gower creates intricately patterned compositions of geometric forms that have an almost hypnotic effect; further enhanced by the striking use of a limited monochromatic palette.
Gower is noted for her ‘ability to seamlessly marry a careful and ordered aesthetic with the potential chaos of ephemeral materials – testimony to her incredible sense of restraint’.i Throughout the span of her career, she has experimented with composition, consistently producing works that investigate materials and transience, design and pattern-making, order and chaos. Gower constantly pushes the boundaries of the nature of collage, with this latest series produced exclusively from black paper fragments glued to semi-transparent drafting film.
Elizabeth Gower received a Diploma of Art & Design, Prahran College of Advanced Education in 1973 and a Master of Arts (Fine Arts), RMIT University in 1995. She is currently completing a PhD at Monash University. Gower has held over 30 individual exhibitions throughout Australia and overseas, including shows at Cite Internationale des Arts Gallery, Paris 2007; Arthouse, London 1997; and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane 1991. Her most recent individual exhibitions include Amor Infiniti, AC Institute [Direct Chapel], New York 2009 and Genera series 09, Longwood University, Virginia, USA 2009.
Gower has participated in many major group exhibitions including Fieldwork Australian Art 1968-2002, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 2002; Australian Perspecta, held at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, in 1997 and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, in 1985 and 1981; Isolaustralia, Gallery Lillo, Italy 1984; and European Dialogue, 3rd Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales 1979. Her most recent group exhibitions include Extreme Beauty: Approaches to the Real, Y3K, Melbourne 2010; and Cubism and Australian Art, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne 2009.
Gower’s work is held in many notable public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and National Gallery of Victoria; as well as numerous private collections in Australia, France, Italy, UAE, UK and USA. In 2008 Gower was awarded the Australia Council’s Greene Street Studio residency in New York. In March 2012 Sutton Gallery will present works by Gower at Art Dubai, the largest and most established contemporary art fair in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
i Kelly Gellatly, Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of VictoriaArtist’s profile