Paintings by Lizzie Zelter '22 Selected to Display at Cafe Nous

Mădălina Telea Borteș
May 16, 2023

Visual Arts Alumna Lizzie Zelter ’22 was selected by the The Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the School of the Arts and the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, to display two paintings in the Columbia Philosophy Building’s Cafe Nous from July 2022 through June 2023. 

Painting by Lizzie Zelter

The two large-scale paintings, Getting to the bottom of it (68” x 56,” oil on canvas, 2022) and Chugging along (68” x 56,” oil on canvas, 2022) are characteristic of Zelter’s approach to the visual plane, namely, to distress, crack, and sometimes fracture it. In Getting to the Bottom of It, Zelter’s further condensed an already prismatic interior space of a room filled with glass shelves and panels hung on walls and jutting from them. The effect is a visual experience that grips one through hues of turquoise and pewtered mauve while forcing a range of questions: what am I looking at? Why haven’t I considered glass’ capacity to warp space before? What can I now understand about sight that I hadn’t before? The answers to these questions continue to unfold long after one encounters the work. 

The second painting on the cafe’s walls is Chugging Along. In this scene of a building’s exterior, Zelter has destabilized the hard edges of roofs and walls and doorways to create a sense of seeing underwater. There is an optimal distance to view this painting, and it is just at the edge of the cafe’s order line. From there, one feels the striking sensation of standing before a home returned to after many years away. 

painting by Lizzie Zelter

Zelter’s paintings create richly detailed scenes of kitchens, bathrooms, U.S. Customs waiting lines that simultaneously establish and challenge a vibrant depth of field. Through this, Zelter’s work lures a viewer in and sends them off altered, topsy-turvy, and genuinely surprised. 

Lizzie Zelter received her MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2022 and a BA in Global Cultural Studies in the Program in Literature at Duke University in 2018. Her paintings and sculptures have been exhibited at New York City’s Project Gallery V, ChaShaMa Gallery and Winston Wächter Fine Art.