Elizabeth Thomson is considered one of New Zealand’s foremost artists. She works at the intersection between art and scientific fields, specifically biology and physics. Often using the natural world as her primary reference point, she recreates botanical, entomological or molecular forms, leading to beguiling and sometimes perplexing abstract geometric compositions. Her paintings and sculptures incorporate a wide range of materials, often in unusual combinations, including acrylic and flashe on bronze, lacquer on contoured 3D CNC-cut wood panel, moulded and engraved fibreglass, and glass beads embedded in resin. Her work also engages with a wide range of cultural sources: religious iconography, the patterning on traditional Japanese kimono, the stately gardens of Europe, mandala forms of Eastern spirituality. In 2006 Thomson’s contribution to New Zealand art was acknowledged and celebrated with a major survey exhibition, titled My Hi-Fi My Sci-Fi, curated by Gregory O’Brien for City Art Gallery, Wellington. O’Brien described the central theme of this exhibition as ‘the orderliness and the disorderliness of Nature.’ This extensive exhibition was shown at five public venues throughout New Zealand from 2006 till 2008 and was accompanied by a 50-page catalogue publication.
Elizabeth Thomson (b. 1955, Auckland, New Zealand) lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1991. Since then she has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally. She was one of nine artists invited to take part in the Kermadec expedition in 2011, which resulted in exhibitions throughout New Zealand, Tonga, Easter Island (Rapa Nui), Santiago, Chile and the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New Caledonia. Her relief sculptures and printed works are held in major public and private collections both nationally and internationally.