Elise makes exuberantly large oil paintings of people dancing, playing music, fighting and fleeing from metaphorical and actual upheaval. The settings are stages for peak experiences, and her facility with paint combines expressiveness with specificity in color and form. Her paintings embrace a grand figurative tradition while exploring themes of anxiety and autobiography. Her show Centaurs and Belly Dancers is currently on view at Gallery 924 at the Arts Council of Indianapolis (924 North Pennsylvania Street) through the end of November.
I talked with Elise about her ideas and thoughts for the gallery going forward:
Tell me a little about your background as an artist and with the Stutz.
I came to Indianapolis after receiving my MFA in painting from Indiana University Bloomington. For about a year I tried to work on my huge paintings in my apartment, taking almost all of our living space, but eventually I gave my husband and my cats a break and started looking for a real studio. I fell in love with the Stutz building: its high ceilings, its beautiful light and the seriousness and professionalism of the other tenants and staff. Picture the classic, industrial-chic, huge, brightly light studio– that’s what I found, and I moved into my space in 2010.
What made you want to take on coordinating shows and events at the gallery?
Andy Chen has done a wonderful job with the gallery, and I am honored to be following in his footsteps. After graduating from IU it took a while for me to transition from living as a student to living as a real member of this community, and in the last couple of years I’ve been looking for opportunities to engage with the arts in Indianapolis. Along with that, when I visit galleries I’m looking for inspiration. I see this as an opportunity to contribute to the arts in Indianapolis, and also an opportunity to find and present inspiration to other artists. The expanded Stutz Art Gallery is going to be a gem of a space, with beautiful light and a great floorplan. I am so excited to be a part of it.
Any upcoming shows you’re particularly excited about?
The December program is going to be fantastic with IDADA’s “First in Line” show, the Holiday Market, and “Splendor, Mirth and Good Cheer” in the Gallery. We also have some special things planned for our 20th Anniversary Open House in April, and we are developing ideas for a Resident Curator program similar to our very successful Resident Artists program!
What’s something that people should know about you and/or the Stutz Art Gallery but probably don’t?
The Stutz is known for it’s annual April Open House, but it is also a center of inspiration and creativity all year round. I encourage everyone to stay connected to all the great things that are happening every month in our gallery in and the artist studios!
Elise will curate her first show with the Stutz Art Gallery in January 2013 and we can’t wait!
Photos courtesy of Lydia Burris.