I love doing a studio visit. In fact I prefer seeing an artist’s work in their studio. I prefer having them explain me all about their art amidst the smell of paint and backdrop of canvases stacked against the walls. It seems all together more intimate and revealing. And with Liz Collier you instantly know you are with a person who is passionate about the creative process. When she buzzes about "the inherent language of shape within human beings," I find it quite life affirming.
Liz initially confesses to being a bit wary of having a studio visit done as an interview but she soon goes with it. She darts about her studio like a nest making swallow– cutting up bits of collage or framing works - for the whole time I’m there, enthused by her Bison / Apollo St exhibition. Of late she says she has been "encouraged by abstraction."
It’s all new stuff and people will make of it what they will, it is not done to "shake things up and surprise people". It’s what she has always done "but with a bit more confidence." I dig a bit deeper. I want to know more. She gives a bit more. These works are a lot more about experimentation and response. She has always doodled and drawn she explains but of late she has really become a lot more un-self-conscious with her mark making enabling herself "to work with the f*** ups’’, which she laughs, is just like life really. There is a tribal aspect to Liz’s work. Karrel Appel, Jean de Buffet and Paul Klee are all influences she name drops. I want her to have a look at Joshua Abelow. Her love of dance can clearly be seen and she pulls out some rolls of calico upon which she spontaneously painted interlinking tribal figures. She painted straight onto the calico without mapping it out in pencil beforehand.
Once she got into a "meditative state of mind", it was quite easy for her. I’m impressed by her boldness. Many of her big artworks have been used at festivals in the past, draped like huge tribal flags in tents. And it is popping up in venues such as these where Liz feels at home, for here she can connect with "her people" because as she frequently tells me she doesn’t feel comfortable with the pomp and inaccessibility of many art spaces. Many would concur with that.