Eloise Govier is a British artist who divides her time between her studios in Wales and London. She is a painter who uses bold colour combinations to create sculptural canvases rich in texture and movement. Her paintings capture solitary men in cafés, dancers, swans, lakes and fields, and her pieces have been exhibited in the Far East and across Europe. Govier’s work can also be found in private collections across Europe and America. Despite her clear love of the early 1900s Expressionist painters, her distinctive style and innovative palette has led to her work being described as ‘edgy contemporary’, with respect for her work growing, the painter is making a significant contribution to the British art scene. Aesthetica spoke to Eloise to find out more about her colourful palettes.
A: Firstly, where do you draw your inspiration from in your artwork?
EG: Happiness. Desire. Aggravation. More often than not, a pretty shadow under a tree.
A: Are you influenced by any artists? If so, who?
EG: One of my favourite painters is Van Gogh and I have seen a lot of his work in the flesh. He was incredibly generous with his paint, despite his situation. He was generous for the sake of his subject, from the Cyprus tree to the stars, and indulged the subject at the expense of his own comfort, all so he could show us how the world felt to him. I find that relentless dedication inspiring. I have also been looking at photos of Roger Hiorn’s Seizure recently, an art installation where the artist sprayed the interior of an abandoned council flat with copper sulphate and caused all these piercing blue crystals to grow across all the surfaces. Walking into that space must have been equally fantastic and alarming. I see the piece as a painting and it’s influencing how I envisage space.
A: You use a fantastic range of colour, incorporating a vibrant and bright contemporary technique and application within your works. Can you expand on this? What made you want to explore colour in this way?
EG: My creativity has never been institutionalised. People start talking about correct colour combinations and I glaze over because I use colour emotionally; I feel colour. Abiding by some arbitrary rules would annihilate my whole reason for painting – to be free.
A: Do you feel colour is an instant attraction for the viewer, something that immediately lifts the viewer’s emotion and intrigue within your paintings?
EG: A painting can light up the room, but a serious painting dominates it. I’m not making paintings to match your curtains or your couch. I want my work to play on a deeper level, I’m aiming to shift dynamics in the room and create multiple tensions. I gravitate towards the starkest colour relationships I can create, head-spinning colours that can only be seen in that unison on my canvas, and this impacts upon the viewer emotionally, psychologically even physically.
A: You come from an artistic family, do you think this influenced your career?
EG: It’s certainly in the blood. My father is a sculptor and painter and I think that need to create tactile surfaces can be seen in the way I apply the paint with the knife, my preoccupation with the form of the paint on the canvas is evident.
A: You have had great success worldwide. Is there any particular moment or review that you look back on fondly?
EG: I launched a series of art happenings this year called Ticker-Tape where I ‘paint’ with fluorescent coloured bricks in socially significant spaces. The first event was in Berlin, I took coloured bricks to a housing estate in eastern Berlin and ‘painted’ the garden courtyard. The aim of the piece was to spotlight the building as it was made during a time of deep recession but was still carefully constructed with the community in mind, rooms were spacious, light and colourful; it seemed to not only contradict what we are doing in the UK but also offer a blueprint for what we should be doing. I also took Ticker-Tape to the borders of Wales and England and made 150 bricks hover above the ground, the piece was called Ticker-Tape: Levitate - people loved it and I loved creating it!
A: And lastly, what future projects have you got coming up?
EG: I am currently painting a series of works that look at things on a cellular level. I’m collaborating with scientists and I’m painting 9ft x 9ft canvases. I’m spending my days up ladders. I’m using the big knife. Ticker-Tape is also continuing into 2014 with more happenings planned, plus I am working with International Relations specialist Dr Faye Donnelly of the University of St Andrews on a project that unites art and conflict resolution.
See Eloise’s artwork in the current issue of Aesthetica out now www.aestheticamagazine.com/shop
1. Swan House collection. Courtesy Eloise Govier
2. Les Demoiselle d’Costa, oil on canvas 40″ x 28″. Courtesy Eloise Govier