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Elizabeth Talford Scott

(Baltimore, 2021) –Goya Contemporary Gallery is pleased to announce its exclusive worldwide representation of the artistic Estate of Elizabeth Talford Scott. The Estate comes to the gallery on the recommendation of Scott’s daughter, MacArthur Fellow and celebrated sculptor Joyce J. Scott, whose primary representation is also with Goya Contemporary Gallery. Elizabeth Talford Scott (1916-2011) was born near Chester, South Carolina on the land her parents worked as sharecroppers, and where previously her grandparents were held as slaves. The sixth of fourteen children who lived on the Blackstalk Plantation, Elizabeth was trained by age nine to repurpose scrapped materials into usable objects for basic survival needs. Quilting was a familiar part of the black American experience, especially in the South. It was a keystone for innovation, recycling, constructed iconography, and passing historical narratives from one generation to the next. The artist honed her quilting skills at a young age, though her invention within the medium would develop over many years, moving away from domestic function into sculptural wall hangings that live squarely within the vernacular of fine art.

In the early part of her career, E.T. Scott was championed by leading scholars such as Dr. Lowery Stokes-Sims, Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, and Mr. George Ciscle, the later who-- with the aid of a team of students—curated and organized her 1998 solo exhibition “Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott” at the Meyerhoff and Decker Galleries of the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Goya Contemporary Gallery is looking forward to continuing to promote and further the legacy of Elizabeth Talford Scott as the exclusive commercial gallery for The Estate. In this role, GCG will promote the legacy of the artist through curated exhibitions at its Baltimore gallery spaces and beyond, through international art fairs, and through the development of museum exhibitions, publications, and scholarship. The gallery exhibited E.T. Scott’s work in a two-person exhibition with her daughter in 2019 titled “Reality Times Two: Joyce J. Scott & Elizabeth Talford Scott.” This exhibition was held in tandem with the companion exhibition “Hitching Their Dreams to Untamed Stars: Joyce J. Scott & Elizabeth Talford Scott” at The Baltimore Museum of Art. Goya Contemporary Gallery also mounted the solo exhibition “Elizabeth Talford Scott: Upside-Downwards” from November 28th, 2020 through Feb 28, 2021. Scott’s work has newly entered stellar public collections such as The Mint Museum and The Philbrook Museum, among others, and we are already in discussion with 10 additional museums regarding acquisitions.

As stated by gallery founder Martha Mack, “We are honored to be managing the artistic estate of ET Scott.” Gallery Partner & Director Amy Eva Raehse added “E.T. Scott was an artist we knew and greatly admired in her lifetime. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those –such as George [Ciscle], Lowery [Sims], and Leslie [King-Hammond] -- who came before us to document and celebrate Scott’s remarkable innovation and brilliance. Her work remains as relevant today as it was then, and her influence on other artists is becoming more understood as the field starts to investigate and correct the curatorial and collecting omissions of the past. We look forward to continuing to work with our esteemed colleagues to revive and reinvest the next generation in this important artist’s practice. Naturally, we are eager to work with institutions who have already invested in objects created by Joyce J. Scott, as there is a unique advantage to telling the story of two generations of makers who influenced each other. We are excited to learn how these institutions will wrap scholarship around the examination of each practice within a single collection, with an eye toward more deeply understanding both.”

The artist’s daughter expressed: “It made sense to consolidate the primary representation for both my practice and my mom’s practice with my long-time Baltimore gallery. Baltimore is a major part of who I am and who my mom was.”

Goya Contemporary Gallery has remained the worldwide, primary dealer representing MacArthur fellow Joyce J. Scott for over 20 years. “These two multi-generational artists learned from, and taught, one another…they shared principles and techniques- sometimes even materials, and yet their works convey individual truths. Sharing their narratives though one program helps us underscore that blackness is not monolithic. There are shared experiences, and of course, there are very personal and individual experiences. We do not think you can tell their stories without including Baltimore as a “character” if you will. The city did not define them, but it did shape them in different ways.” said Raehse.

Migrating to Baltimore in the early 1940’s with her partner, Charlie Scott, Jr., Elizabeth welcomed their daughter, celebrated artist, MacArthur fellow Dr. Joyce J. Scott, into the world. During this period, Elizabeth Scott worked as a caterer, a caregiver to children, and a mother. With limited time in her demanding work schedule, Elizabeth Scott took a hiatus from quilting. It was not until her daughter was self-sufficient, in the 1970’s, that the artist returned to her creative practice with dedication, vigor and potency. Developing techniques that acknowledged her family history yet moved beyond, Scott began to innovate, creating Fiber works that incorporated stones, buttons, shells, bones, sequence, beads, knotted material, glass, and other unconventional objects amassed in bright and lively compositions that boasted bold colors and heavily layered surfaces in organic and unstructured shapes.

“Immersed and embedded within the lush surfaces of these works live personal and worldly narratives, and an alphabet of symbols that tell us as much about emotion as they do about personal history” said Raehse. “Her developed iconography makes references to nature, flowers, animals, insects, sea creatures, monsters, fantastical beings, magic, superstitions and good luck charms which converge in a cacophony of pure visual energy. In Scott’s hands, commonplace materials are transformed into a lesson on abstract design informed by all that she could see and imagine. “

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