Studio visit: Elizabeth Merriman

An artist with green... amber, yellow, and cerise fingers!
Jan 15, 2022
Studio visit: Elizabeth Merriman
The cottage was one of five dwellings built in the early years of the twentieth century. The cottage is a well appointed holiday rental and unusually without mains electricity, which adds to its attraction for guests wanting temporary isolation from contemporary conveniences. Boldly configured and beautifully proportioned to the size of each room, Elizabeth's drawings complemented the homeliness of what are tastefully and sparsely furnished spaces.
The drawings are full of botanical form without always being fully rendered in high colour. Parts are described in outline only. In other areas, the staymen of a flower or a glaucous leaf are picked out and elegantly described in her proficient hand. In others, large areas of the paper are coated in a single dominant colour without incedent. It is a style that shows confidence in her handling of the medium and expresses more than mere enthusiasm for her subjects.
We went on to see more unfamed examples of her work, both figurative and abstract, at her home studio five minutes away, among the gables of the nearby village. Her house is set off within an extensive garden designed and planted by Elizabeth. Large picture windows look out over densely planted beds that provide the source material for her collaged observations in colour theory and a bewildering range of blooms and seed heads that she assembles for her pastel still lives. Her creative process follows a wholesome cycle of two passions feeding each other, one providing the inspiration for the other.
Elizabeth introduced herself five or six years ago when we were briefly involved with a small art 'collective' based at Morston near Blakeney. When this project came to a conclusion, we became focussed on other projects like our earlier iteration, Norfolk By Design and promptly lost sight of her work. So it was with great relish that we got to know what Elizabeth does, finally! We look forward to working with her this summer.



About the author

Paul Barratt, Director and Curator at Contemporary and Country

Paul Barratt

Paul Barratt started working in contemporary art galleries in 1989, having graduated in Fine Art from Goldmsith’s, London University. He initially worked at Anthony d’Offay Gallery, one of the contemporary art dealers, who dominated the London art market in the 80s and 90s. He was approached by the Lisson Gallery to be gallery manager for the influential art dealer Nicholas Logsdail. This was followed by a short period in New York at Gladstone Gallery, to work for visionary art dealer Barbara Gladstone, working with the artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney.


On his return to London, Paul secured a place on the postgraduate curatorial course at the Royal College of Art, to complete an MA. After graduation in 2001, he worked as an independent curator on several projects in Oslo, London, Brighton and Basel, before joining Paul Vater at his design agency Sugarfree in 2004. He has worked with Paul ever since.