Elizabeth Virginia Levesque is a multidisciplinary artist living in Philadelphia. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA after receiving an Associate of Applied Arts from Tidewater Community College of Norfolk, VA.
Selected awards Elizabeth has received are the Benjamin Lanard Memorial Award in assemblage and the Tidewater Community College Visual Arts Center Excellence in Fine Art and Watercolor Awards.
Her works have been shown in group exhibitions in the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, Portsmouth, VA; Rothick Art Haus, Anaheim, CA; Ayden Gallery, Vancouver, BC Canada; Articulated Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA; Lorrie Saunders Art Gallery, Norfolk, VA; Jarrod Fergeson Gallery, Farmville, VA; Hive Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and a solo show at The Little Volcano, Asheville, NC.
Elizabeth specializes in oil painting and assemblage sculpture and also practices graphic design and illustration.
- 2019 – BFA & Certificate in Painting, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
- 2013 – Private instruction under artists Angela Cunningham of Asheville, NC & Brett Edenton of Chicago, IL
- 2012 – AAA in Studio Arts, Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth, VA
- 2019 – The Hal and Linda Robinson Award for Imaginative use of Color in Representative Art
- 2018 – The Benjamin Lanard Memorial Award
- 2016 – 2018 – PAFA Academy Scholarship
- 2016 – 2018 – PAFA Academic Scholarship
- 2016 – 2018 – PAFA PPMA Undergraduate Merit Award
- 2012 – TCC Visual Arts Center Academic Scholarship
- 2012 – TCC Annual Student Exhibition Excellence in Fine Art Award
- 2011 – TCC Norfolk Campus Provost Scholarship
- 2011 – TCC Norfolk Campus General Scholarship
- 2011 – Kathleen Marie Eddy Art Scholarship
- 2011 – TCC Annual Student Exhibition Excellence in Watercolor Award
- 2019 – 118th Annual Student Exhibition – Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
- 2018 – 117th Annual Student Exhibition – Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
- 2018 – Merge Visible – Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
- 2015 – Samhain – The Little Volcanoe – Asheville, NC
- 2013 – Numerology – Alchemy NFK Gallery – Norfolk, VA
- 2013 – Speaking in Tongues 2 – Black Vulture Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
- 2013 – Creative Variations – Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, Portsmouth, VA
- 2012 – Hell Hath No Fury – Rothick Art Haus, Anaheim, CA
- 2012 – Into the Void – Ayden Gallery, Vancouver BC Canada
- 2012 – I Like Soup – Museum of Contemporary Art of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA
- 2012 – Marvelous Humans – Articulated Gallery, San Francisco, CA
- 2012 – 41st Annual Student Exhibition – Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth, VA
- 2012 – New Waves 2012 Juried Group Show – Museum of Contemporary Art of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA
- 2011 – Multiversal – Wynnwood Art District, Miami, FL
- 2011 – Spirit Board – Articulated Gallery, San Francisco, CA
- 2011 – Friends – Lorrie Saunders Art Gallery, Norfolk, VA
- 2011 – Speaking in Tongues – Black Vulture Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
- 2011 – 40th Annual Student Group Show – Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth, VA
- 2011 – Head, Fingers, Knees and Toes Group Show – Contemporary Art Center of VA, Virginia Beach, VA
- 2010 – Friendly Ghosts & Pretty Gross – Jarrod Fergeson Gallery, Farmville, VA
- 2019 – Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Capacity of Color Philadelphia, PA
- 2019 – Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Insider Art Show Philadelphia, PA
- 2019 – Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art I Like Soup Virginia Beach, VA
- 2012 – Cooke, Elizabeth, “Elizabeth Levesque: Contemporary Artist Growing in Norfolk, VA,” AltDaily, August 9, 2012.
- 2010 – Alvarado, Julie, “Friday Featured Artist,” AltDaily, October 2, 2010.
When do we lose the ability to play pretend? When do we realize magic isn’t real? Does the weight of reality and eventual adulthood dim the light of all our play? Do we experience regret for the loss of our unmediated imagination and attempt to will it back? My work explores these questions and attempts to explore the grief I feel for childhood moments lost in unselfconscious play. My paintings and assemblages are interrogations of this time of change. Is it an immeasurable transition? Is this moment truly the end of ability or when permission to exercise it has been withdrawn?
Children may seem to live small lives, but the worlds of their imaginations extend far beyond the limits imposed by space, time, and societal expectation. My paintings and assemblages build the worlds that I used to access effortlessly and make them visible to share with others. My paintings are a window to look through. My assemblages are stages for fantastic stories to play out. Their visual narratives don’t show the beginning or end of a story. My audience arrives in the middle, much the way we arrive in our dreams.
My works play with depth and flattened shapes to mirror stylized cartoons and toys sold to children. The choice to borrow from these relics of childhood is purposeful. For many people my age, these toys are the cartoonish archetypes of a cultural collective unconscious. They were tools used by children to share their inner lives and made it possible to play together in overlapping worlds. They are the raw materials for a child’s myth making.
I ignore the rigid laws of form and perspective because they would only serve to ground my work in a mundane reality. Vivid and discordant colors serve to remind viewers that my landscapes are of a strange land. They are vaguely threatening. Children play the lead role in their stories and every protagonist needs danger in order to transform into the hero.
Though my assemblages and paintings explore the same psychic space, constructing an assemblage comes closest to the feeling of childhood play I alluded to. Using childish craft materials to build diorama-like spaces, I hope to stir a memory of grade school art class in my audience: the sense of play, the smell and taste paste. Their process reenacts the memory of building structures for my toys to exist in when store bought doll houses or plastic castles inevitably fell short of my imagination’s needs.