We’re so excited to have Lizzie Riches as one of our Art on a Ukulele Artists at Art on a Postcard. Riches is a painter born in London but brought up by Epping Forest. This closeness to nature has made a great impact on her work and so inspired a more organic approach to the painting, uninterested by ‘fashionable art’. Whilst attending Camberwell School of Art and Goldsmiths Riches felt disenchanted by the painting styles of the late sixties and instead went in search of her own visual language based on genuine connection with the subject and her own influences. Lizzie has exhibited at Portal Painters since 1976 and has had solo exhibitions internationally. She is often commissioned, usually portraits in her original and dream like style.
Riches is more specifically inspired by the relationship between civilisation and nature. In her own words, ‘I walk around cities, I look at people, I read books, I look at other people’s paintings, and I make a kind of soup of all this information and something comes out of it’. There is then, a constant soul-searching quality to her paintings. In her painting Plumbago for instance, nature takes precedence; the beautiful plumbago blue illuminates directly towards us, whilst the subject remains contemplative facing away from us. She wears finery, delicately detailed with botanical prints. It is an ode to the influence nature has had on us, and reminds us that we ourselves have a nature that we often see as separate to the natural world around us. Her style is reminiscent of the myths and legends that were written by members of civilisations far closer to spirituality and nature than we are today.
This work like most of her other portraits mimic traditional historic paintings through the composition and positioning of the subject. Moreover, her work is often rich with unique symbolism, almost as if Riches has created her own visual language. This is an artist who rebelled against stylish painting as a student and returned to history to reappropriate a form by rejuvenating it with genuine passion and connection. Not only thematically and with personal symbolism but also by using subjects she feels a deep connection to. She has spoken about the importance of the subject exuding a certain narrative or energy that she can work with, and then dressing them in various costumes that manifest in a character she is inspired to paint.
We’re extremely excited to see in what innovative manner Riches approaches our Art on a Ukulele project so please join us to find out more by signing up to our mailing list (at the bottom of the page) to receive updates about this project and to find out about our crowdfunding campaign, the rewards we are offering and be part of the process over the next few months.
About the writer
Rosa Torr is a final year BA Politics and Philosophy student from London currently at University College Dublin. Her place of interest is political theory and in particular Gender Studies. Rosa has written for numerous online publications and the University Observer. She is also a theatre maker and is currently co-artistic director of BUMP&GRIND Theatre Company. The show she co-wrote BUMP will be on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.