Georgia Elrod is a NYC based painter who creates her work through gouache and mixed media studies. Using the physical form in identifiable and abstract ways, Elrod looks inward at the body as a temporary architecture of ideas. Her animated use of color and fluid forms contemplates individual physicality in relation to the world around us - where they mesh, and how they interact.
Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…
I grew up in downtown New York City in the 1980’s and ‘90’s, it was a really different city then. I also spent a lot of time in the rural South as a kid, and the cultural contrasts between these two places continue to inform my identity. My parents are both painters and some of my earliest memories are of making and looking at art- as a young child I took this for granted which has been both a privilege and a challenge. While I realized our lives were unconventional, making things was just what we all did. As I grew older I became more aware of our financial struggles, and seeing the ups and downs of life as an artist led to phases as a young person when I rejected the idea that I too was a painter. Meanwhile, I was always making paintings and drawings. Over the years I’ve become an artist through lots of trial and error...I’m sure my childhood growing up around artists made me both a little jaded and also very determined to find my own way.
What is your creative process?
Larger themes in my work become clear to me in hindsight, and through writing. Though I sometimes begin with specific formal or conceptual ideas to process in my work, they often kind of creep in through the side door. I start by making several works on paper in one sitting. These are both studies and works in their own right, and some of these become loose visual guides for larger paintings. Stemming from memory and imagination, I translate subconscious imagery into paintings that become most potent when they are unexplainable. I usually start with an initial idea in my mind and the work builds and unfolds as I go. When I surprise myself I feel I may have created a successful piece.
Describe your work in three words...
Suggestive, edges, open
Georgia Elrod says
“By letting go of anatomical rules, the works become more like poetic spaces. I’ve been cultivating pictorial simplifications of body parts and using them to complicate notions of a “universal” experience of living in a body.”
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m inspired by the people in my life, my daughter, and by other artists and friends. Ideas for my work appears while listening to music, reading, through conversation...and at random times like on the subway. Once I’m deep in a painting I think about it a lot throughout the day (and sometimes night), seeing things a little differently, mentally shelving ideas.
What draws you to painting the subject of interior landscapes?
I’ve been making paintings that suggest bodily forms for almost ten years, though things have shifted and changed over time. This recent work initially started with a quest to understand how the human body functions, and I began thinking of ways to paint the inside of my own body. Mental images emerged of a constant body interior, of the goings-on beneath and within the skin. By letting go of anatomical rules the works become more like poetic spaces. I’ve been cultivating pictorial simplifications of body parts and using them to complicate notions of a “universal” experience of living in a body. Landscape and architecture are both setting and metaphor in my work, often providing a psychological framework for the figures and body parts. I’m interested in suggestive imagery and the simultaneity of forms. Through painting, expectations of functionality and fragility literally become marks, colors, drawing. Internal and external landscapes become abstracted through the process of thought and visualization. Being pregnant and having a child has informed my recent work and continues to provide material for me.
When do you make your best work?
This is a hard question to answer, there really isn’t a formula for me. Since becoming a mother I’ve been surprised to find a new sense of urgency and motivation in the studio.
What influence does modern culture have on your work?
I may be able to answer this question more specifically 20 years from now. I think artists are deeply connected to our cultural contexts
What is your relationship with social media?
Not sure, it keeps changing. Kind of a love/hate relationship I guess!
What influence does living in New York have on your work?
I love New York for so many reasons, and I feel energized and challenged by this city on a daily basis. It is constantly changing.
Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?
Lee Lozano, Wayne Thiebaud, Nancy Davidson, Elizabeth Murray, Kerry James Marshall, Charles Burchfield, Lois Dodd...there are more!
What do you listen to when creating?
I alternate between music and podcasts. When I’m composing images and/or intensely creating work I tend to listen to music.
About Georgia Elrod
Using the physical form in identifiable and abstract ways, Elrod looks inward at the body as a temporary architecture composed of ideas
Georgia Elrod is a Brooklyn based painter and mixed media artist. Using the physical form in identifiable and abstract ways, Elrod looks inward at the body as a temporary architecture composed of ideas. Her animated use of color and fluidity contemplates individual physicality in relation to the world around us - where they mesh, and how they interact. Elrod received her MFA in painting from Hunter College and is a member of the artist-run gallery, Underdonk, in Brooklyn. She is co-creator of the art podcast AroundAbout and has exhibited work throughout the US and in Istanbul, Turkey.
b. 1979 Brooklyn, NYC Lives and works in Brooklyn, NYC
"Stemming from observation and memory, the imagery in my work is initially cultivated through many gouache and mixed media works on paper. The forms are often unpredictable, and their meanings open-ended. I make many works on paper, and some of these become paintings. In that process I am translating subconscious imagery into paintings that becomes most potent when they are unexplainable. I usually start with some kind of image in my mind and the work unfolds as I go. When I surprise myself I feel I may have created a successful piece.
My recent work began with a desire to interpret bodily function and experience, to question and understand our ungraspable insides. Positing physical identity as a kind of living abstraction, the imagery can be both known and unidentifiable.
By letting go of anatomical rules, the works are more like poetic spaces. I’m interested in suggestive imagery and the simultaneity of forms. Through painting, expectations of functionality and fragility literally become marks, colors, drawings. Internal and external landscapes become abstracted through the process of thought and visualization." - Georgia Elrod
2010 Hunter College, M.F.A
2001 The Colorado College, B.A. with honors in Fine Art
2014 Around the Corner, Novella Gallery, NYC
2012 Here and Here, John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY
2010 Open System, Hunter College Times Square Gallery, NYC 2006
2006 Georgia Elrod: Recent Paintings and Drawings, JGallery, Maplewood, NJ
2006 Viewfinder, Roger Smith Lab Gallery, NYC
2005 Brief Histories, Jay Etkin Gallery, Memphis, TN
2019 The Oblique, curated by David Gibson, NYC
2019 Making (It) Work, California College of the Arts
2019 The Unusuals, The Painting Center, NYC
2018 Graces, Curated by Nicholas Cueva, 5-50 Gallery, NYC Private Practice, Underdonk, NYC
2017 Show Me Yours, Underdonk, NYC Truth, BRIC, NYC
Sara Marlowe Hall’s work combines aspects of both painting and sculpture. Inspired by her travels and everyday surroundings, the artist uses raw pigments, acrylic and plaster to achieve new effects of color and texture.