Tabish Khan - Art Critic Londonist, FAD & Freelance London UK
There are those in the fine art world who still place photography below painting and this stems largely from the fact that photography is a more accessible and therefore less unique medium – anybody can take a photograph but not everyone can paint. This argument falls apart when dealing with the world of the abstract where technique takes a back seat – the art of conveying emotion, intensity and movement through form and colour is equally applicable to photography as it is to painting.
While abstract painting may already have household names such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, abstract photography is still a developing field and is where the most promising young photographers may be found. Elizabeth James falls squarely into this category with her works featuring fluid sinuous forms that come to life in bursts of colour. In her ‘colour in motion’ series, the photographs capture a freeze frame of the balletic flow of colour through water. This is the series that first brought James to my attention but her other series utilising water drops and smoke further highlight she has a natural eye for capturing the moments of beauty that can be found in these organic forms. The fact that she has chosen to work with these natural elements adds a level of unpredictably to her work that is not found in painting. This irreproducibility takes her work beyond a simple aesthetic appeal to represent the rawness of the natural world acting under the guiding hand of the artist.
The choice of working with water conjures up a vast bank of imagery. People are often told to picture a blue ocean when trying to remain calm, yet a ship tossed about in a stormy sea is a picture of violence. Water is the key to life yet a tsunami can wreak unimaginable destruction. Over thousands of years water has carved the Grand Canyon and so when James presents water in a photograph, it is a snapshot in time of everything this vital liquid represents. The true measure of art is the emotion it evokes in the viewer and just like there is in the nature of water, there is a sense of ambiguity to her work. This ensures they can cover the full spectrum of emotions from the joyous splashes of orange and red in one work, to the dread triggered by a dark liquid cascading down another – as if it were a vanguard for the deluge to come. This ambiguity ensures that the work of Elizabeth James has aesthetic appeal, yet there is a greater emotional subtext underlying her work that draws people to it and makes them feel connected to her photographs.
Rianna Scipio - Award-Winning Multi-Platform BBC Television Host/Producer
“Elizabeth James is a perfect blend – half blisteringly hot creative artist and half professional businesswoman – a rare and exquisite combination and an absolute pleasure to work with. It’s an equal pleasure to recommend her for her art and for her approach to business, to my own trusted friends and colleagues. Watch this space!”
Ryan Stanier - The Other Art Fair Director
“I’m most drawn to Elizabeth’s work Colour in Motion, I enjoy its unpredictable nature which ooze energy, movement, colour and positivity”.
Charlie Smedley – A Space for Art
“Elizabeth’s work is stunning. It is impactful and demands attention. No two works can ever be replicated which is what makes them so special. Elizabeth is unique as both a person and artist. With her dedication, talent and work ethic, she is only going to become a more established name.”
Katie Slater, Associate Art Consultant - Soho Myraid
“Elizabeth James’ compositions have wonderful use of movement, color and balance. In our dealings she conducted herself like a true professional.”