Born: May 19, 1952, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. The statistics of my education don’t tell you much more than that I moved around a lot from Nebraska to California to New Haven, CT. The story of my career is more about the people who encouraged me than anything. My High School art teacher, Ted Akimoto, arranged for me to have art classes for two sequential periods so that I could actually get something done. Simple enough one might say but to me at the time it was the first time someone outside my parents saw anything in me to encourage.
I went from Germany to Nebraska and learned to draw in a way that allows me to draw anything I see. Initially I studied Scientific Illustration, and took courses in biology, thinking conservatively. I had professor who mentored me, Dr. John Janovy who would look at my work and make suggestions. Unfortunately, my path was shaken by tragedy and I lost my parents and sister. In reaction, I moved to California and finished undergraduate school there. While there, I met Michael Mazur, a very successful artist who invited me to study with him and move to the east coast which I did.
Michael encouraged me to apply to graduate schools and even drove me to my interview at Yale! Thanks to his connections and encouragement, at Yale I learned more about making art, teaching and making art professionally. After graduate school I taught at various Universities looking for the Holy Grail of a tenure track position. By the time I got one and fought for the tenure at Holy Cross College, I had met my husband to be, and gave up tenure and moved to be near him.
Overtime my work has changed from primarily black and white to color and from using one etching plate for an image to using three plates each with different color information on them to create the whole image. I taught off and on again because I love to teach, notably at William and Mary, but having the time to work on my various ideas has been a tremendous opportunity. I have had two sons who we managed to fit into our time in DC. And are now “retired” in Charlottesville, VA. I continue to work on my various art “projects”.
Elizabeth Peak: Landscape Through Multiple Lenses
“The title of Elizabeth Peak’s show at the Washington Printmakers Gallery, “Landscape Through Multiple Lenses,” underplays the Charlottesville, VA artist’s abilities. She doesn’t simply detach one lens and affix another. Her work demonstrates mastery of three different modes: collage, line etching and three-plate color printing. Peak spent much of her childhood in the Great Plains, which she recalls in such detail-rich monochromatic etchings as “Approaching the Rockies,” a widescreen vista that stretches a cloud-stuffed sky across four sheets of paper. Peak also uses this process for vivid portraits of animals, notably a slumbering giraffe.The three-color works, which meld pigments with the subtlety of watercolor, include an expressionist vision of a rainforest in Washington state. (It’s similar in tone to an exuberant collage, “Large Pond,” in which slivers of paper become reeds, ripples and leaves.) More often, Peak employs the tricolor print for small-town scenes, such as a view of Charleston, SC, at what may be dawn or twilight. In mood, these unpopulated cityscapes are akin to the depictions of lonely prairie vignettes. Yet they were crafted with techniques that are, impressively, worlds apart.”
Mark Jenkins, Washington Post — January 2016