Toronto Star Article: ‘This painting captures the isolation of COVID-19 — but it was created in the midst of a collective’

Music, conversation, weather, travels. They synthesize into our perception of the world, reminding us that we are part of a larger community, even when our world seems to have shrunk to the size of a window pane.

Before COVID-19, Toronto artist Elizabeth Greisman began a series of paintings she created in response to music. While painting a sketch for an opera, she says, she noticed the musical score “was beautifully rhythmic and I responded to the melody by making a dot for every beat.” It was a new way of painting; she used it again while doing a residency in Buenos Aires. It’s a technique that also influenced the painting “Rain,” above, part of a series of works created during COVID “that involve isolation or, in this case, a concentration on the image of rain on the window pane, with the viewer looking outside … Imagine sitting in a window seat, so close to the window that you can see the droplets on the pane.”

She was reminded, during the pandemic, of the importance of collaboration. She spent much of her time working out of her studio at the Wychwood Barns artists’ complex; although secluded in her studio, she was surrounded by the collective, sharing ideas, even with social distance. “We dreamed together of better days ahead, and this positive energy fuelled the day-to-day struggle with imagery, colour, continuity and the meaning of each image. It was the first time I had opened myself up to dialogue about the work I was creating at the Barns and it is so valuable.” New work, too, will change to incorporate new techniques and experiences. “My colours have changed. I want happier, brighter, more illuminating colours and images,” she said. Creation is, after all, organic.

When we create something, it contains multitudes — people we’ve met, ideas we’ve had, places we’ve seen, music and art we’ve experienced. We continue to grow — even when we’re home, grounded.

By Deborah Dundas, Books Editor at Toronto Star

Abstract Oil Paintings

The spirit and imagery of dance and music continue on in the paintings, even though the theatres and event spaces are shut during the virus.”

Toronto-based visual artist Elizabeth Greisman paints large format abstract oil paintings, which reflect the mediums of dance and opera.

Elizabeth is open to collaborations in dance and music.

The Irish Contemporary Dancers by Elizabeth Greisman in the alumni journal of the Trinity Laban Consortium London England

Plugged In

1. Spring Colours is about the earth giving us the brightness and beauty of flowers.

2. Blue of the Sky is a symbol of hope at this time.

3. North South was created from the colours of Canada and Argentina. I was in Argentina for the month of December 2019 for an Artist Residency.

4. Spring Florals is strongly coloured to resemble vintage fabrics.

A Message from Elizabeth Greisman

The world is going through a transformation at this time. The focus of my artwork is also going through a metamorphosis; different subject matter, different focus, different ideas, and a greater need for collaboration.

Through Zoom and through various social media, I have stayed in contact with friends and colleagues globally. We navigate cyberspace, and long distance conversation fuels my imagination and psyche at this time.

My friend’s, my families’ courage and resilience, is encouraging.  Learning more about their personal stories and the way the different countries are handling this crisis has taught me a great deal. We are all closer in our separation, and our view of the world is changing. There is a hiatus in my artwork as I evolve through this situation. My artwork will come out of this period changed, and the change is most likely to be greater introspection.I am gleaning creative sustenance through the media, which may have currently replaced intimate dialogue throughout the world.

I want to share with you some of the imagery created at this time that reveal my feelings and emotions. I have included several works and in process images  to show that a sense of play can help facilitate creativity.