The artwork I create speaks to my interest in memories and place, where identity and nature connect. I explore abstraction and its connection to myths and Southern stories. Within a web of entanglement of lines, I communicate stories of survival, isolation, and empowerment. Inspiration come from nature; Spanish Moss which lives on the trees along the Georgia Sea Coast. It holds water which gives it life. Sometimes I feel present, sometimes not. Textured, sculptured, colorful bees waxed paper of organic shapes echo water and form.
I’m interested in women’s voices from historical places like the Georgia Sea Islands and the Gullah Islands. I reflect on historical stories of powerful women as they chant, dance, connect and disconnect through migration and separation of family. These cultural stories are explored within a web of entanglement of lines and layering of material. Ultimately, I reflect on hope, the importance of staying in a place of empowerment, even in the middle of change, chaos, and uncertainty.
The present exhibition, “Eleanor Neal-Landscape of Memory” speaks to previous experiences and remembrance of places in the South; a recent trip to Daufuskie Island tucked away near Hilton Head and Savannah. The unique Island takes you back to a world that feels washed away by an uncertainty of time. I have visited St. Simons Island, and Ossabaw Island where myths, and magic exist. The Oak trees with moss move and sway with the wind like a dancer. As I meditate, I reflect on the female body, body language, and hair. I create large ink drawings on the floor, I dance and move through the space in a meditative state of isolation, and contemplation. I focus on how to provide a thread that connects body movement in and out of figurative space within a non-linear, multi-layered shared space. The spontaneity and unpredictability of process gives me another voice in the abstraction of nature connecting with a sense of place. I reflect on the landscape of the south and the women of the South; how their spirit can carry off, through nature; plants, flowers, trees, to move, change, yet always searching for a place of permanence and empowerment.
MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Recent exhibitions include the 2021 Atlanta Biennial, Of Care And Destruction curated by Dr. Jordan Amirkhani at the Contemporary Arts Center. Eleanor is part of the group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, MOCA GA, LINES Exhibition. In January 2023 Eleanor Neal was selected to exhibit in the Sarah Ball Allis Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “A celebration of artmaking and feminism.” Eleanor has exhibited at the Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art, the Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College. Presently, Eleanor’s artwork can be seen at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport as part of the MOCA GA Airport Exhibition featuring artists from the Permanent Collection. Selected exhibitions include MOCA GA, 2019, Gathered IV where she was an award winner in the exhibition. Her work was selected for the MOCA GA Works on Paper: 1980-2013 Women from the Permanent Collection Exhibition. Eleanor has exhibited at the Sullivan Gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago. Eleanor was selected by High Museum of Art curator, Michael Rooks for the WonderRoot CSA Program. Eleanor is in the collection at Clark Atlanta University Museum. The Hampton University prestigious Elizabeth Catlett Printmaking Award 2016/2012. Eleanor’s winning artwork was featured in the International Review of African American Art magazine. In 2020 Eleanor was selected as a finalist for the Forward Arts Edge Award. Her artwork was featured in 2021 at Swan Coach House Gallery. Eleanor has been featured in Anamesa, the journal of New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. The Center of Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk, Connecticut selected her artwork for the International Footprint Biennial Exhibition. Eleanor was selected for the Faith Ringgold, fellowship, AnyOne Can Fly Printmaking Award. The award was designed for women printmakers and held at the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania under the direction of master printmaker Curlee Holton. Eleanor’s artwork is in the corporate collection of Boston Consulting Group.
Other exhibitions include Chastain Arts Center, Atlanta, GA.; Swan Coach House, Atlanta, GA; Women’s Caucus for Art of Georgia, The Steffan Thomas Museum, Buckhead, GA; The Saco Museum in Saco, Maine. Eleanor is a graduate mentor for the MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Artist’s residencies include Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences Residency, Rabun Gap, GA; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont; Haystack School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine, and Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine.
Eleanor has presented workshops at NAEA, the National Art Educators Association; MOCA GA, SGCI Panel-Printmaking Artists of the African Diaspora, 2017 at Kennesaw College. Eleanor has been featured in Burnaway. The Contemporary Arts Center featured her work in the AJC, ArtsAtl.