I “discovered” Liz Roache and her dynamic art in what turns out to be our mutual happy place: a cute little neighborhood beach club on Cape Cod. Actually, my cute little five-year-old discovered her first when she was setting up for the most unpretentious art opening in the history of art openings. She was displaying her new work in the white-washed barn where my son attends “beach camp.” Needless to say, Liz fell in love with our little aspiring artist as quickly as I fell in love with her art.
I learned that Liz’s love of art and design began 30 years ago when she painted huge canvases and designed products for sale in some of the world’s most exclusive stores. That love only multiplied when she met artist and teacher Ati Gropius, daughter of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius and student of Josef Albers. “I took courses from Ati in both color and design,” Liz told me in her Cape Cod studio recently. “I followed her everywhere. Ati became my mentor and teacher for 26 years.
Liz Roache in her Cape Cod studio
“When Ati died she left all of her teachings to me,” Liz continues, holding up her work, alive with color.
“This is where we take a shape and, with lots of thought but very little effort, turn it into a completely new form,” she adds.
“So there’s a lesson behind every single one of these?” I ask pointing to the colorful and complicated art that’s strewn everywhere in her studio.
“Yes, absolutely,” she says.
“Everything’s about relationships. That’s all about relationships,” she says, pointing to a work called Gumball, whose story unfolds through the interaction of colors and shapes. “There is something very human about it. It’s emotional. It’s the thing that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in Blink. It’s either going to hit you or it’s not.”
And that’s what I love about Liz Roache’s work. It’s clean and complicated. Simple and sophisticated. It’s about the interplay of color and shape. Most of all, it’s like those special relationships that only seem to happen at the beach.