Over the past decade, Elizabeth Glaessner has conjured a saturated and densely layered world of transformation and multiplicity. Welcoming amorphousness in her subjects and their surroundings, Glaessner’s surreal universe is populated by beings and tricksters that are pictured in states of becoming or undoing. Rich with art historical and cultural allusions, her work does not offer a narrative or fable. Rather, Glaessner evokes ambivalent moods unmoored by virtue and vice.
Working in oil, acrylic and pure pigments dispersed with water and various binders, Glaessner’s technique shifts between formal articulation and non-representational gesture. Reflecting the metamorphosis occurring within her subjects, each painting is grounded by a primordial color field that is variously poured or stained. Subjects emerge as limbs and hands spring from tonal and textural convergence. Enraptured by suns, moons, seasons and tides, the resulting creatures are unequivocally products of their environment, but are not fully embodied or autonomous.
Throughout these works, Glaessner depicts characters questioning stereotypical behaviors and ideas of morality. The works on view present an opportunity for Glaessner to examine the line between good and evil, moral and immoral, safe and dangerous, and the grey areas in between. The figures portrayed reflect an unrestricted freedom of identity, both emotionally and physically, and are often androgynous. Glaessner frequently shows her subjects in states of ecstasy or hysteria, celebrating the purity of emotional expression that most are too afraid to confront.
Elizabeth Glaessner was born in Palo Alto, California in 1984 and grew up in Houston, Texas. After receiving her BA from Trinity University in 2006, she moved to New York and completed her MFA at the New York Academy of Art in 2013. She was awarded a postgraduate fellowship at the New York Academy of Art in 2013, a residency at GlogauAIR, Berlin in 2013 and a residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in 2012. She has presented two solo exhibitions with P·P·O·W, in 2014 and 2018, and has contributed to group exhibitions throughout North America and Europe. Glaessner was recently included in the group exhibition Les Yeux Clos at Perrotin, Paris and her work will be featured in Go Figure!?, an online exhibition at Sprüth Magers, curated by Ed Tang and Jonathan Cheung. Her third solo exhibition at P·P·O·W will open in February 2022.