Liz Dexheimer: A Sense of Place
April 23, 2020
Text by Bob Curley Photography by Liz Dexheimer
Liz Dexheimer’s paintings occupy a space bordering the intangible and the manifest. It’s apparent that you’re looking at a landscape, albeit in the abstract, and you can surmise from the colors that the inspiration derives from the natural world surrounding her rural Connecticut studio. Yet the precise location and details are fated to remain just outside your grasp, no matter how deeply you examine the work.
And that’s just how the artist wants it to be.
Dexheimer, whose work appears in private collections and on public display in locations such as the Litchfield County courthouse and the flagship Nordstrom store in New York, doesn’t spend much time at an easel staring at marshes and ponds: she’s more likely to gather impressions of lily-pad clusters or sunlight reflecting on water while taking a country drive.
Certain forms are suggested—a dark clump of trees, the pale line of a sandy beach, perhaps the red hull of a boat resting quietly at anchor. But Dexheimer says what’s really important to her are patterns, structure, and the qualities of light, reflection, and color. “The interplay of the ephemeral and the enduring in the natural world has always served as inspiration.”
Working in oil allows Dexheimer to create a sense of “edgelessness” in her work. “I don’t want my paintings to be seen as sequential, but something that has no beginning and no end,” she says. “I want it to look like something that was always there.”
The interaction of color, which she says “creates new energy and fullness,” is crucial to Dexheimer’s work. “I do end up using a lot of green; it’s so lush, and the super dark greens are like velvet,” she says. “I guess by default it represents landscape and nature and that draws me in and also makes the paintings landscapes, but I also just like it as a color.”
Her studio process isn’t completely spontaneous, but Dexheimer’s paintings tend to evolve naturally over days and weeks, which seems entirely appropriate for an artist who treasures timelessness. “I’ll see when, where, and which colors resonate, and eventually the painting will come out,” she says.