Elizabeth Livingston was born in Miami, Florida in 1979. She is a painter primarily working in oil on canvas. Livingston majored in Fine Art at Yale University in 2001, and then went on to complete her MFA at Boston University in 2006. She has been represented by Alpha Gallery in Boston since earning her MFA. Livingston has been the recipient of several residency and fellowship awards, including Ucross in Wyoming, Weir Farm in Connecticut, a full Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, and the Aljira Emerge program in New Jersey. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times and The Boston Globe. She lives and works in Pelham, NY.
I primarily paint lone women in domestic environments in an effort to express my ideas about human isolation and vulnerability in our modern world. I work from photographs that I stage and shoot myself, and some elements, such as greenhouse flowers or an intricately patterned shirt, are painted from life. To give the image a charge of disturbance the viewpoint is always that of an outsider looking in, throwing the viewer into the position of voyeur. In more recent work I’m pulling back from the figure, to focus on exterior views of homes at night. In these paintings, the figure is no longer visible, but a human presence is clearly felt through dimly lit windows. I’ve always been interested in portraiture and narrative threads, as a means of exploring how fragile we are despite the ways we buffer ourselves from the outside world -- with soft quilts, richly patterned wallpaper, or by leaving a light on at night while we sleep -- and I felt the need to draw back from the figure, and further back into the woods, to observe these glowing little orbs that are houses at night. They are to me, a portrait of their inhabitants, which can be as intimate as a portrait of a person’s face, yet more ambiguous – are they warm and inviting, or is something a little off, creepy even? A small country home at dusk with the porch light on reads both as a safe house and as defenseless outpost against the dark woods surrounding it. These small, protected worlds we create for ourselves are revealed as fragile, their inhabitants, terribly alone.