The artist works from a studio-gallery home. Earlier pieces and her most recent work can be viewed by appointment in this intriguing space reminiscent of a medieval cottage.
Elizabeth studied art at university level, from 1978 – 1981, majoring in painting and drawing. She worked as a full time typographer and illustrator for eight years before becoming an art dealer, curator and private art tutor. A full time career as an artist followed, starting in 2002.
Elizabeth took a year’s sabbatical during 2013 to manage the art.b gallery in South Africa. She acted as an independant curator at D-Street gallery in Stellenbosch for more than two years, curating and co-curating well acclaimed exhibitions. Elizabeth also worked as an artist in residence, from a studio at the gallery, for six months ending March 2016.
Elizabeth Miller-Vermeulen has participated in more than 50 group exhibitions and has held five solo exhibitions and her work is internationally represented in private collections. She has curated numerous group exhibitions showing some of our most established artists in the country, as well as introducing emerging artists.
The Society of South African Geographers commissioned Elizabeth to curate 100 Geographies, an exhibition celebrating a century of geography teaching and research at university level in South Africa. This three month long exhibition at the Stellenbosch University Museum, featured 100 artworks, 44 artists and 40 geographic themes. It concluded December 2016. Her own work from the exhibition is featured in a following album.
Elizabeth is currently co-curating a group exhibition, Forward? Forward! Forward… as a collaboration with the Stellenbosch University Museum. The exhibition will feature 100 artworks and aims to engage ideas around the future of higher education in South Africa. The exhibition forms part of the Stellenbosch University centenery and opens 5 December 2018.
PROJECTED HERITAGE, a solo exhibition at IS ART, Franschhoek. 6 May – 25 June 2018
In PROJECTED HERITAGE, Elizabeth Miller-Vermeulen presents a movement of twelve portraits chronologically titled Portrait Number One to Portrait Number Twelve. Adopting the perspective of a conversation, she paints various images of the sitter (her niece), exploring and questioning the relevance of heritage, of reversed perspective and, as such, the quest of identity, of who is viewing whom.
The work employs a texture of historical motifs based on the artist’s past: a street scene, a bird wall sconce that belonged to a paternal grandmother from Montagu, the pattern on a childhood lace curtain. In a linear progression from one portrait to the other, these motifs are retooled to convey multiplicity and non-standardizing of the subject. They evolve into the background itself, channelling a passage through which to appropriate the figure. The bird, for example, multiplies and transforms into a haunting backdrop symbolizing both captivity and freedom; the laced dress is interwoven into the back space, a net of memories and future aspirations. Heritage becomes dominant, extracting the relevance from the original source.
Progression is integral to the work. Each portrait is a retake of the same sitter, on the same couch, in the same position, and yet, each time it is being looked at differently, interpreted differently, projected differently. The portraiture no longer depicts a still, sitting figure, but represents a continual shift in focus from the present-day figure to ancestral heritage, from sitter to the surrounding space, from one person to a split into two, from heritage to projected heritage. In the process, the figure becomes less specific with details erased and colours left empty. A figure and her counter-image.
Stylistic diversity is functional as it suggests the merging of narratives, an emerging image. Despite the trajectory over time and even place, the figures are grounded, the recurring presence of the cat rendering a day-to-day awareness, a rootedness.
The last painting is of a larger format. Two figures are portrayed in the same space. Confronted with a doubling of the image, the viewer is asked to compare and question individuality as opposed to conformity. Does the sameness and difference relate to a psychological approximation of the self or a spiritual journey? Is it a loss of rationality or a reference to displacement, the ever-present chain of migration? Whatever, the viewer is engaged in an existential conversation unravelling traces of the past into a parallel history of the future.
What could have been a lyrical, nostalgic portrayal becomes an investigation of agency. PROJECTED HERITAGE scrutinizes presence through inheritance. It underscores how instability of the diverse, expressing and shaping interdependence, plurality, all inform the open question: Who are we?
FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE – SERIES
Acrylic on board, 20x20cm and 20x26cm.
Available at D-Street Art Room, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE – SERIES. SOLD at Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Durbanville
FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE – SERIES, SOLD at IS ART, Franschhoek
PROJECTED HERITAGE – SERIES
SUR(-)FACE – SERIES
100 Geographies, Stellenbosch University Museum September-December 2016
Bo-Kaap 201(6) I, II and II (Gentrification as subject matter)
More than mere mood studies, the portraits contain vein-like, blueprint lines interwoven with facial features. Lines trace buildings/area and location, merging culture and lifestyle as identity.
Fraying across the faces, disintegrating outlines of Table Mountain and heritage buildings indicate a loss of place and identity. E. MV 2016
Bo-Kaap II – Mixed medium/paper 93 x 64cm – SOLD at Is Art, Franschhoek
Bo-Kaap III – Mixed Medium/paper 60 x 60cm – available at D-Street Art Room, Stellenbosch
Bo-Kaap series. Mixed media/paper 30 x 40cm – available from the artist
HARE – SERIES
Also available from the artist`s studio:
Miniature DISTANT LANDSCAPE – series. Acrylic on Board.
Soul Flowers on Canvas