Elisa Vita Logo in white

Meet the artist

Elisa Vita Profile

Elisa Vita is a visual artist based in Montreal, Canada. She has graduated with an MFA in Visual Art from York University (2023) and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Concordia University (2021). Awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship in 2022 for her research exploring the relational nature of folklore, painting, and environmentalism, Vita’s work honours the more-than-human world.

Artist's Statement
For me, painting is a devotional act toward the more-than-human world. Over hundreds of hours, my subjects are meticulously fleshed out in oil paint. The detailed rendering in my artwork is influenced by my sensory experience of the woods. On my panel, the memory of moss becomes velvet; the sheen of a petal, satin. The character of the original subject is maintained but transmuted through my body. First, through my fingertips in an initial woodland encounter, and later in the studio, through the movement of my arm and brush. When a physical exchange is not possible or appropriate, such as with fauna, I engage with what I can see or hear: the strange knowing in a hare's amber eyes, the almost violent beating of a raven's wings. These material realities fuel my imaginings.

After a few days of intensive work, I find that I am unable to leave my studio without colour caked under my nails or streaked on my arms and face. On more than one occasion I have emerged from a state of deep concentration only to find alizarin crimson mysteriously smeared all over my studio, on my hands and right elbow. Painting is a bloody endeavour. It marks my body as my body marks the panel. As such, it feels like a sort of ritual exchange, a form of witchcraft. This witchery allows me to create microcosms of an ecosystem. Subjects which would not naturally be found together in proximity are merged into one picture plane. The resulting image could be called a natural fiction, the purpose of which is not escapism. Rather, my paintings invite viewers to be ensorcelled by the world around them: a radical proposition in the face of modernity.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Solo Exhibitions
    • 2023
      Natural Fictions, Special Projects Gallery, Toronto, ON
  • Group Exhibitions
    • 2023
      a juncture, a join, a strait, a pinch, Collision Gallery, Toronto, ON
    • 2022
      Theatrum Mundi, Gales Gallery, Toronto, ON
    • 2022
      MMXX11, Gales Gallery, Toronto, ON
    • 2020
      Fragile, BBAM Gallery, Montreal, QC
    • 2019
      No.3, VAV Gallery, Montreal, QC
      C’est la famille, Ausgang Plaza, Montreal, QC
    • 2017
      Texture, Art Gang Montreal, Montreal, QC
      Inversions 1, Productions L’Éloi, Montreal, QC.
    • 2016
      VISION(S), Warren G. Flowers Gallery, Montreal, QC
  • Curatorial Experience
    • 2021
      Metamorphosis, Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC
    • 2020
      Merging Perimeters, Art Steps (Online)  
      Le Salon Virtuel, Art Steps (Online) 
      Timelines, Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC
    • 2019
      Le Salon, Atelier Galerie 2112, Montreal, QC
  • Education
    • 2021- 2023
      Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Arts, York University, Toronto, ON
    • 2017-2021
      BFA in Painting & Drawing, Concordia University, Montreal, QC
  • Awards and Grants
    • 2022
      Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Provincial Grant  
    • 2022
      Academic Excellence Fund (AEF), York University
    • 2021
      York University Graduate Scholarship
    • 2017
      Dawson College Award for Excellence in Painting, presented by Michael Smith
  • Teaching Experience
    • 2023
      Instructor, Painting: Composition and Colour, York University
    • 2022
      Instructor, Drawing: Perception, Proportion, Colour, York University