Elizabeth Dimitroff’s (b. 1995; Chicago, IL) paintings explore the temporal rift between memory and truth, grounded in the liminal and ever-expanding space between what is real and what is remembered. In atmospheric, softly rendered compositions, Dimitroff draws viewers in, towards images that appear like memories, but stops short of true reconstruction— a separation that makes clear the inherent loss experienced with the passage of time.
Having initially gravitated to painting as a therapeutic and personal practice, Dimitroff invokes this feeling of loss or emptiness as a point of connection with viewers. This connection is grounded in universal, cyclical experiences: seasonal shifts in light, songs that are anchored in a particular time, or returning to places where one used to live. This practice is intuitive in nature, and takes cues from Dimitroff’s personal life, creating associations between subjects and environments that are both intimate and unknown. Each painting draws from a deep personal archive of images, combining many environments and objects to create atmospheres that feel familiar but unrecognizable. The figures are derived from a similar breadth of sources, using sentimental family photographs, likenesses of friends, and curious images of strangers to render figures that feel mysterious and distant— manifestations that are near, but not quite real.
Throughout their fuzzy and dreamlike world, these figures represent the uncanny nature of a figment: present, yet not fully realized. Their absent eyes make the separation between Dimitroff’s subjects and viewers clear; these are not true depictions of individuals, but imaginings, echoes, and hauntings. Rather than gazing back at the viewer to assert their specific identity, these subjects give the viewer permission to freely look upon them without being seen, to contemplate them in privacy and project their own preconceived notions of identity onto them.
Dimitroff’s surreal scenes take place in a psychic space outside the known rules of time. Often, individuals are shown at multiple points in time within a single image, or parallel versions of the same person exist at once. In this impossibility, these paintings make clear the constructed nature of memory, asserting that the act of remembering is itself the imperfect recreation of an image, not unlike a painting. Human memory relies on individual recollections and swayed perceptions, and often reflects the motivations of the one who remembers more than it does a perfect image of that which is being remembered. Dimitroff’s work finds its haunting quality in this constructed nature, offering footholds through which a viewer can feel an image, but not quite fully enter it.
Elizabeth Dimitroff has presented work in group exhibitions at numerous institutions across Europe, including Studio West Gallery, London, UK; Gurr Johns International, London, UK; Truman Brewery, London, UK; D Contemporary, London, UK; Danuser & Ramirez, London, UK; Aktion Raumtausch, Dusseldorf, Germany; and SET, London, UK, among others. The artist earned a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, UK. Dimitroff was born in Chicago, IL, and currently lives and works in New York, NY. Dimitroff’s debut solo exhibition with Yossi Milo, and first in New York, will be in February of 2024.