Elizabeth Merei, a Hungarian born artist, came to Canada in 1972 where she currently lives and works. Growing up in Szombathely, a city with a 2,000 year old history, made a lifelong impression on her.
In 1979, she carved her very first sculpture in stone and it became her ultimate form of expression. Elizabeth has a keen interest in the human form which embodies beauty, spirit and harmony. “I try to express joy, anger, sadness and the human experiences that fall between.”
Carving directly into the stone without models or maquettes, using the natural stone with its imperfections and sudden temper became an ongoing challenge. Her work is easily recognizable with its tension between smooth and rough surfaces. Her sculptures exude a sensuality that is as prevalent in an abstract form as in a classical figure.
“Carving to me is such an unconscious act; I don’t plan, I feel. It is a very tactile exploration of the material, almost as if I am waiting for it to tell me what it wants to be. Each stone has its unique, distinct personality, its inner essence and spirit and each represents a new challenge. Passion fuels her art, as seen in her piece Everest. “It is very emotional. It came to me after reading Jon Krakauer’s book, Into Thin Air. The courage and struggle of the climbers described in the book touched me deeply.”
A self taught artist, “Merei’s most impressive pieces are firmly linked to the Western classical tradition.” She has been exhibiting her work in Canada, the USA and abroad since 1984 and served as an executive of the Sculptors Society of Canada for eighteen years. Several private and corporate collections include her work.
It is the nature of all artists to explore, to push the boundaries, not just of their art, but of themselves. For Elizabeth, it also meant returning to an early love: painting.