Elizabeth Downer Riker



My paintings are a celebration of people and places that capture my imagination because of their unique composition, play of light, and color juxtapositions. I seek out images that transcend everyday experience, striving to elevate the ordinary to something poetic.

I’m drawn to the beauty of nature and specifically the subject of people working the land. I find the human form — rooted in nature, working or resting — endlessly fascinating. In my paintings I hope to express the timelessness of people’s connection to the earth, something that for many has been lost. And I want to convey the necessity of finding harmony in this relationship once more.

For many years I lived in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I painted farmers in a small Zapotec village. It was a transformative experience for me as an artist. I was struck by the fact that most of the farming was being done by women, and I learned that this was because many of the men were working in the United States. This gave rise to the empowering of women, who found themselves for the first time in positions of authority — in the fields, at home, and in local government.

Over time I became close to many of these women and was invited to accompany them to the fields. It was a special privilege, and it allowed me to paint en plein air where I could capture the light and subtlety of color. I also took photographs of the women to use as a reference. At times I returned to the fields alone, painting the landscapes at different times of day. In my studio I worked from the images I collected in the field, creating full-size paintings.

Recently I moved back to New York City. I craved the images of people working the land and began a series of paintings of the city’s rooftop farms. Though a world apart from southern Mexico, these farms in the sky have a beauty and power of their own. They bring people together in a special connection with nature, creating new possibilities for the greening of the city, and providing a ray of hope for the future. They also have inspired me to embark on a new project rooted in my deepest passion.

Elizabeth Downer Riker
elizabethdownerriker.com Re-enchanting the City


Art Students League, NY
New York University, NY, MFA Film
Georgetown University, DC, BA History

Solo Exhibitions:

2021Re-enchanting the City, Ceres Gallery, New York City
2017Beneath The Same Sky, Ceres Gallery, New York City
2012Life in the Valleys of Oaxaca
Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
2010Women in the Fields
Municipio de San Bartolomé, Oaxaca, Mexico

Group Exhibitions:

2021Salmagundi Club, Figuratively Speaking, New York City 
Ceres Gallery, Outside My Oeuvre, New York City
2020Salmagundi Club, Annual Members’ Fall Exhibition, New York City
Ceres Gallery, Life As It Is Now, New York City
Salmagundi Club, View Out My Window, New York City
Salmagundi Club, Annual Members’ Exhibition, New York City
2019    Ceres Gallery, Raising Women’s Voices, New York City
2018National Arts Club, 27th Annual Roundtable Exhibition, New York City
Hebrew Union College Museum, The Climate and Me, New York City
Superfine Art Fair, New York City
 The Outsider Art Fair, Onward, New York City
2017Ceres Gallery, My Favorite Things, New York City
Ceres Gallery, Women Under Siege, New York City
2016Ceres Gallery, Summer Celebration, New York City
2011Galería La Biznaga, Oaxaca, Mexico
Municipio de San Bartolomé, Oaxaca, Mexico
2010United AIAR Artists, Gstaad, Switzerland
Galería Ocho Mujeres, Oaxaca, Mexico


2011San Bartolomé Arts Program, Oaxaca, Painting Instructor