2019, Acrylic on canvas stuffed with polyfiber, steel, mirrored plexiglass, 96 x 120 x 22 in.
Elizabeth Chapin is a contemporary American portrait artist whose mixed media work explores and deconstructs the ideas of nostalgia, gender roles (especially those of women) and the status quo through an anthropological lens. Chapin's background as a traditional portrait artist has evolved and while she still paints portraits, she has begun incorporating materials like undulating fringe, plexiglass, silk and tulle ruffles, neon and stuffed canvas. These dynamic elements turn a flat painting into a 3D manifestation. To best unravel what nostalgia means and how it holds us where we are, Chapin mostly uses young women as her subjects, many of whom are in transition or caught in the collateral instability of competitiveness, desirability, observation and anxiety. The works wholly convey Chapin's hope for women to be utterly themselves—free of both shame and duress. Her most recent works will continue to push this desire, but will explore the banishment and solitude that often comes with being a woman, from Eve in Eden to The Birth of Venus to today's Instagram models. Using a frame of mythology and origin, Chapin continues to search for what it means to be fully oneself.