Elizabeth Thach


I think about what art needs to be to survive the apocalypse: when the electricity is gone, and the televisions and cell phones are dead, people will have to look at paintings. I work in layers and image heaps. The perversity of finding clarity in chaos is a guiding insight. I look to popular culture and design, interested in the way people live with these objects. Raised in the Midwest, I crochet and make paintings using crochet and embroidered yarn and make wall paintings using stencils and blue tape. I like it when the art gets dirty, when “high” and “low” modes of image-making come together and can’t be separated.

The subject matter evolves from observed everyday life, popular culture, politics, dreams, and literary fragments. Language plays a central role in the images: sometimes literally, with words and letters as a part of the visual composition or, more often, just outside of the frame with lengthy titles. The color black as an outline in an formal strategy but also it has a conceptual purpose. The black defines, the line is emphatic. In the book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez, there is a plague of forgetfulness in the fictional village of Macondo. The citizens begin to forget the names of objects, and to lose the ability to speak to each other. The female protagonist cures the plague by writing the names of everything in the kitchen and the house and labeling them exhaustively so that everyone can communicate with each other. Eventually the plague runs its course, and the village is spared. I think of the color black as graphic element that represents language for me and the belief that non-literal visual information contributes meaningful to objective human truth.