TalkAbout | Treespell

Thu Feb 29, 2024


Join us for a conversation with exhibiting artist Elizabeth Chapin and artist Shahzia Sikander.  Due to a change in Sikander’s travel plans, she will be joining the talk virtually. They will discuss themes addressed in Treespell, including the transformative power of the gaze and the interconnectedness of all living things. TalkAbout is a program that facilitates thought provoking conversations with artists and the people who inspire them. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP required to attend. 

Please note that this event will not be live streamed.



Born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1969, Shahzia Sikander took up the traditional practice of miniature painting during Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s military regime, at a time when the medium was deeply unpopular among young artists. Sikander earned a B.F.A. in 1991 from the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore, where she received rigorous training from master miniaturist Bashir Ahmad. She became the first woman to teach in the Miniature Painting Department at NCA, alongside Ahmad, and was the first artist from the department to challenge the medium’s technical and aesthetic framework. Sikander’s breakthrough work, The Scroll, 1989–90, received national critical acclaim in Pakistan, winning the prestigious Shakir Ali Award, the NCA’s highest merit award, and the Haji Sharif award for excellence in miniature painting, subsequently launching the medium into the forefront of NCA’s program, which brought international recognition to this medium within contemporary art practices. The artist moved to the United States to pursue an M.F.A. at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1993 to 1995; from 1995 to 1997, she participated in the CORE Program of the Glassell School of Art at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Elizabeth Chapin’s paintings explore the intimacy of bodies (human, arboreal, and vegetal) as expansive environments – intra-connected, both containing and leaking within each other. This intimacy dissolves the illusion of gaze – of artist/subject and subject/viewer. Chapin sees archetype and myth as a way of holding our seemingly distinct experiences and bodies in the thicker flow of everything. Social media, the religion of identity, and a modern mythology perpetuates and broadcasts “self”, offering playful creativity, but also exile, distorting what it means to be connected, while maintaining systems of separateness.  Chapin responds to these ideas with restless paintings that become bodies, tumble off the wall, fold into themselves, into you and into each other, paintings co-becoming. Born in Mississippi, Chapin received her BFA at the University of Virginia and also studied at The Parson School of Design in Paris. Her work has been exhibited across the United States in New York City; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; New Orleans, LA; Nashville, TN; and Jackson, MS, among others. In 2020, she was awarded a residency in Florence, Italy, through Feminist Art Collective Toronto. In 2022, she was offered a 3 year mentorship under the acclaimed artists Shahzia Sikander and Holly Hughes. In 2023, Chapin was invited to participate in the biennial Sculpture Month Houston.