Working at the interface between art and various forms of natural science, Elizabeth Thomson can, at times, be described as a surrealist-at other times she is a detached observer/investigator of the arcane and the remote.
Drawing on the abstract language of music, philosophy and mathematics, Thomson’s art is also shaped by the material world in which she finds herself. When the glass-beaded surface of one of her works glistens, the effect is somewhere between a morning garden covered in dew, the static on a television screen and a visualisation of Pythagoras’s notion of celestial harmony. Such is the ambiguous, paradoxical poetry of these works. Elizabeth Thomson locates her work on the boundary between the known and the unknowable, the beautiful and the uncomfortable. Pushing the notion of the ‘beautiful’ into new territories, Thomson’s work can be said to contain a difficult beauty.
Playing off delicacy with an at times harsh and alienating aesthetic, the works perplex as much as they beguile. The lyricism of her forms and arrangements is often counterbalanced by an element of the Gothic; sumptuousness is played off against austerity.
In 2006 Elizabeth’s unique contribution to New Zealand art was acknowledged and celebrated with a major 20 year survey exhibition curated by Gregory O’Brien for City Art Gallery, Wellington: Elizabeth Thomson: My Hi-Fi, My Sci- Fi. This extensive exhibition toured five public venues throughout the country and was accompanied by a 50 page catalogue publication.
Courtesy: Two Rooms Gallery