Elizabeth Higgins describes herself as an abstract figurative and landscape painter. Everything around her serves as a potential subject, an inspiration to begin a painting. Fidelity to the landscape, the figure, or the still life is relative, as she isn’t interested in literal depictions; instead, it’s the abstract relationships of these shapes and colors, the abstract pictorial design that drives her work.
Higgins’ paintings are rooted in the tradition stemming from Courbet, Derain, Bonnard, Matisse, Morandi, German Expressionism, and the Canadian Group of Seven (also known as the Algonquin School of landscape painters, 1920–1933). She is influenced by the work of her artist-teachers Paul Resika—himself a student of Hans Hofmann—and Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922-1993), as well as the paintings of contemporary artist Peter Doig. Her artistic evolution stretches across this continuum.
It is the “in-between”, the hovering between representation and abstraction, that interests her, not the labeling effect of details; instead, she aims directly at the spirit of the painting—of making something come to life. John Goodrich wrote in her catalog essay, “Elizabeth Higgins’ direct brushwork and simplified forms suggest an energy, but crucially, reveal a painter who knows the power of color…”
Elizabeth Higgins was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1960. As a Helena Rubenstein Award recipient, Higgins earned her MFA from Parsons School of Design, where she studied with Leland Bell, Paul Resika, Albert Kresch, and Robert De Niro, Sr. Prior to coming to New York in 1983, Higgins received her BFA from Queen’s University, Canada, where she studied painting and printmaking with J.C. Heywood, Ralph Allen, and David Andrew.
Higgins’ work has been exhibited in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, as well as at galleries in Connecticut and Maine. She was included in the 2022 group exhibition Light of Day—The Language of Landscape at Westbeth Gallery in Manhattan, curated by Karen Wilkin. Her work is in corporate and private collections in the US and Canada.