I am descended from generations of North Carolina farmers and I reflect those strong southern roots in my work. My father and grandfather rode a tractor over our acres, and in my own way, I continue that tradition as a contemporary painter—working that same land with my eyes and my brush. During most of my adult life I have watched the loss of open spaces, the harvesting of old growth forests and the construction of thousands of new houses—the “final harvest”. Raised a naturalist I couldn’t escape painting an elegy for the land as I remember it and as it can still be found—in hidden pockets of the forests. My life falls on the cusp of change; born into a world of post war farming, I now live and work in the urban, technological south. My work attempts to seize the look and feel of this place before it is forever changed, and to perhaps cause the viewer to weigh the value of those changes.
As much as I record what is around me, I am also portraying my own spirit in these paintings. The images stand in for states of mind and heart that occasionally transcend place. I find myself inventing color, seeing auras around trees, and patterns that don’t exist except inside me, but show up exploded on the surface of a creekbed or the leaves on the forest floor.
My process has evolved from several long explorations of various media. I currently work in both acrylic and oil on canvas or board, in every possible scale from intimate to large and inescapable. The work is informed by the needlework traditions of southern women since North Carolina was settled, and the Pattern and Decoration movement of the 70’s. Emotionally, the work is connected to Earth Art. It bows to the traditions of abstraction, while also striving to clearly represent the depth of my experience of nature . Most of all, I hope it communicates both a meditation and a prayer for this lovely place on earth.
Elizabeth Bradford is a native Carolinian, with deep roots in the rural landscape. Her work often centers on images drawn from her rural community and her family’s century farm in north Mecklenburg County. In recent years she has used her passion for backpacking as inspiration for large scale paintings of the wild.
Bradford studied art at Randolph Macon Woman’s College, the Universities of North Carolina, and at Davidson College, and recently completed a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and VCCA’s outpost in France, Moulin à Nef.
Bradford is represented in corporate and private collections all over the United States. She was included in the US State Department’s Art in Embassies Program, which places representative work by American artists in embassies around the world.
In 2006 Bradford was chosen as the featured artist for North Carolina’s first statewide Women’s Conference. She has had many solo exhibitions, including shows at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte,Davidson College and Hood College. Her work focuses on intricate formal patterns found in nature, and on the experience of color. Currently her medium is acrylic on canvas. Though representational, her paintings have a strong connection to the traditions of abstraction. Bradford’s paintings reveal a continuing investigation of landscape and the notion of place.
2006 The Painted Journal
2016 Elizabeth Bradford: Time + Terrain
Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, Blowing Rock, NC
Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, NC
Her Excellency, Madame President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia
Kenan Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Davidson College, Davidson, NC
Southern Living Magazine, Southern Progress Corporation, Birmingham, ALA
Bank of America, Charlotte, NC
Trammell Crow Company, Charlotte, NC
Branch Banking and Trust, Charlotte, NC
Electrolux, Concord, NC
The Pines, Davidson, NC
Fearrington Village Inn, Pittsboro, NC
Central Carolina Bank, Durham, NC
RIHT Mortgage, Charlotte, NC
Brooks, Pierce, Raleigh, NCUNC Rex NC
Heart and Vascular Hospital, Raleigh, NC
NC State Bar, Raleigh, NC
2018 Solo Exhibition “Entanglements”, The Mahler Fine Art, Raleigh, NC
2018 Solo Exhibition, “New Work”, The Umstead, Raleigh, NC
2016 Solo Exhibition “Elizabeth Bradford: Time + Terrain”, Blowing Rock Art and History Mu-seum, Blowing Rock, NC, curated by Carla Hanzal
2016 Solo Exhibition “Persistence of Eden”, Hood College, Frederick, MD
2015 “Reclaiming Nature: Art and Sustainability”, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC
2014 “Visions of Spring”, Les Yeux du Monde, Charlottesville, VA
2010 Solo Exhibition, “What the Day Brought”, Waterworks Visual Arts Center, Salisbury, NC
2010 Solo Exhibition, “ The Year of Silence and Blooming”, Christa Faut Gallery , Cornelius, NC
2008 Solo Exhibition, “Two Mile Radius”, Christa Faut Gallery
2006 “The Southern Landscape”, Duke University Law School Gallery, Duke University, Durham, NC
2006 “The Southern Landscape” invitational, Lee Hansley Gallery, Raleigh, NC
2006 Solo Exhibition, “Recent Work”, Christa Faut Gallery
2004 Solo Exhibition, “Dream and Metaphor”, Christa Faut Gallery
2002 Solo Exhibition, “Water, Earth, Sky”, Christa Faut Gallery
2002 Solo Exhibition, Cleveland Springs Fine Art, Shelby, NC
2000 Solo Exhibition, “Three Hundred & Sixty Six Days”, Christa Faut Gallery
1998 Solo Exhibition, “New Work”, Christa Faut Gallery
1996 Solo Exhibition, “Woman’s Work”, Christa Faut Gallery
1995 Solo Exhibition,” Paintings and Prints”, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Cone Center Gallery, Charlotte, NC
1994 Solo Exhibition, “Blues Poetry”, Christa Faut Gallery
1992 Solo Exhibition, “Summer”, Christa Faut Gallery
1990 Solo Exhibition, “This Place”, Christa Faut Gallery
1986 “North Carolina Artists” Invitational, Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, NC
1981 Solo Exhibition, Davidson College Art Gallery
1981 Solo Exhibition, Hodges Taylor Gallery, Charlotte, NC
1979 Springs Mills Open Exhibition, Traveling Show, Juror: Marcia Tucker, Spartanburg, SC
2017 Moulin à Nef, VCCA-France, Auvillar, France
2014 Skopart, Skopelos, Greece
2013 Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Amherst, VA.
2014 Skopart, Skopelos, Greece
1973 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA Degree.
1973-4 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MAT program.
1975,82 Davidson College, studied lithography, painting.