Elyse Defoor is a multidisciplinary artist who is inspired by a person’s connection to their inner spirit and unconscious world. From this passionate inspiration, she produces artwork that can be both bold and mysterious. Her drawings, paintings, photography and large scale installations have gained international recognition and national exposure.
In 2008, Defoor’s series “X.U.ME” was presented as a solo exhibition at the Alexandria Museum of Art in Louisiana. X.U.ME is Defoor’s visual response to having seen the Xs marked across the New Orleans landscape after Hurricane Katrina, and was initially developed during her month long residency at Hambidge Arts in 2006.
X.U.ME was featured at the Spruill Gallery, Atlanta in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of Katrina in August 2010. In addition to an interview with NBC om “Weekend Today”, a PBS special was created in October, 2010 about Defoor and X.U.ME.
In February 2010, Defoor’s solo exhibit at the Wm Turner Gallery in Atlanta introduced “Via Dorso: Sonnets to Unguarded Moments” to critical acclaim. ArtsCriticATL reviewer Jerry Cullum described Defoor’s exhibit as “classicism becomes contemporary” and “the combination of tradition and innovation is mesmerizing.”
Defoor’s past experience as an environmental graphic designer brings a wealth of knowledge of materials, production techniques, and project coordination to her exhibitions and public art installations. In September 2011, Defoor’s “one million thoughts of joy” digital installation premiered, and was seen by over 1,750,000 viewers in downtown Atlanta.
In March 2012, Defoor suspended 23 wedding dresses in an outdoor location in Castleberry Hill. This unpublicized installation marked the second phase of “Relics of Marriage” which initially began as photographic portraiture of previously worn wedding dresses hanging from a single chain in her studio. An indoor mixed-media installation of Relics of Marriage exhibited in conjunction with Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2012 at The Arts Exchange in Atlanta.
Due to popular demand, Defoor recently completed the first version of the Relics of Marriage art photography book in which she paired the portraits with statements—ranging from biting to poignant to sugary sweet—given primarily by the dresses’ owners. Copies of this special edition accompanied a selection of large scale framed prints from the Relics series for her inaugural solo New York exhibition at Umbrella Arts Gallery in New York City, April – June 2015.
From her “Exposed” series of mixed media drawings, Defoor was invited to be one of twelve artists to participate in “The Drawing Experiment” at the Chastain Art Gallery in Atlanta, July. 2015. In August 2016, her work from the Belted series was exhibited at Whitespace Gallery as part of “The Garden of Unearthly Delights”, in celebration of the Bosch Quincentenary.
Defoor’s solo exhibit “Unbridled” at Gallery 72 in Atlanta, includes two large-scale installations of her work from “Belted”, “Exuvia” and the “Relics of Marriage” series. “Unbridled” is sponsored by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, April 12 – June 7, 2018.
In 2018, Defoor moved her studio to a large industrial space - EBD4. Conceived initially as a creative exhibition and events space, Defoor offered local artists opportunities to share their work through open call and invitational exhibitions, solo presentation opportunities, readings, performances and other events. Highlights of the EBD4 exhibition schedule were 40 Over 40, Disposition (featuring work by Soo Kim, Nam Kim and Mizu-su), Loss. Redemption. Grace. and Unseen Atlanta (photographic work by Al Clayton). The Object Show, produced by five Atlanta sculptural artists, was the final exhibition of 2019. Heading in 2020, Defoor transitioned EBD4 back into her personal studio space for a self-imposed artist residency. The space offers an opportunity for Defoor to present past bodies of work together and the room to turn her attention to In Between, a new series of work created in isolation as the world began a quarantine in response to the 2020 novel coronavirus.
Elyse Defoor lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.
A video of the first day of the Relics of Marriage outdoor installation, along with exhibit tours, documentation on her Loss. Redemption. Grace installation, NBC, and the PBS special, may be viewed on YouTube.