Review, Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, January 2016
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, S.C., 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.
Elizabeth Peak: Landscape Through Multiple Lenses On view through Jan. 31 at Washington Printmakers Gallery, 1641 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-669-1497. washingtonprintmakers.com.