Couple, Top of Escalator
oil on canvas
12 x 24 inches
© Elizabeth Ennis
Statement about the “In Transit” series of paintings
Getting from one place to another, the sense of motion, of being carried along, creates a suspension of time and within that hiatus the awareness of another journey taking place inwardly into memory and reflection. A subway tunnel becomes a dark background on which the play of life and light goes on. My paintings attempt to capture the isolation of people who are momentarily neither here nor there but moving through space. Surrounded by mass transit’s impersonal structures, people inhabit their own solitary inner worlds. Though traveling together, they often seem oblivious of those around them and unaware of the odd conjunctions that sometimes take place between them.
The process of translation from photograph to painting is in itself a kind of journey. When one views a photograph the sense of a moment captured from a stream of time is paramount.Paradoxically, when I paint an image from a photograph I am involved in distilling and concentrating the essence of what I have seen. Exercising the formal values of color, light and composition are ways of removing the image from the flow of time and creating an archetypal and timeless space that we inhabit psychologically and sensually. In the process of using hand and eye, and avoiding mechanical reproduction, subtle changes occur that contribute to the power of the final image. My goal is to create an image that momentarily checks our ordinary awareness, arrests time, and causes us to dwell in the world of the painting.
Elizabeth Ennis 2012