Elizabeth Matthews

In these works an empty chair symbolizes an invitation, or a record that an invitation wasn’t accepted. An empty chair can also represent someone who was here and is now missing. I use the empty chair to explore rich human themes that are under examined such as domestic violence, parental alienation, as well as humor and enlightenment.


Oil on Canvas, 48 x 36

Out of the Wilderness

Oil triptych, 48 x 36

Portrait of a Missing Couple

Oil triptych, 48 x 36

In 1936 Anna Freud coined the term blame-shifting: when a person attributes their own unwanted thoughts, feelings, or motives onto another person (A. Freud, 1936). Blame-shifting destroys the credibility of the innocent and allows the trickster to avoid consequences.


Oil on linen, triptych, 24 x 36

Missing (with apologies to Theodore Waddell)

Acrylic on paper, 20 x 16

Untold Aftermath

Oil quadriptych, 49 x 24.5

Without Authentication

Oil diptych, 74 x 48

Telling my story after being stripped of legitimacy by two generations

Storytelling can have a negative effect on the life of a single individual. Storytellers know that those listening will believe whoever is first to tell and that the story gains credibility by being retold many times. Daniel Kahneman describes this human tendency to believe the first telling of a story in his book “Thinking Fast and Slow.” He says we like to believe whoever is first to tell and as humans we rarely check our sources or give others the chance to authenticate the stories told about them. In this way the human family is easily deceived and may inadvertently participate in sharing false stories that isolate and undermine innocent individuals.

In this artwork the story being told lacks authentication. This is symbolized by the blank color shapes representing a missing Chinese chop or seal that is traditionally used to verify and validate authenticity of a work.

Closeup 1, Without Authentication
Indoctrination of the Innocent

Oil on linen, 24 x 30 “Grooming” is the manipulator’s methodology to gain faithful followers.

Turbulent Times

Oil on linen, 9.5 x 11.5 Turbulent times are opportunities for us to thrive spiritually. President Russell M. Nelson, October 2020

Opportunity Cost

18 x 23, Oil on linen

We All Fall Down

Charcoal and colored pencil on paper, 19.5 x 15.5

Inanimate Escape (with apologies to Eadweard Muybridge) 

Oil on canvas triptych, 25 x 25

Warned to Flee

Acrylic on paper

Elijah’s Fire on Mount Carmel

Acrylic on paper, 16 x 20

I Have Replaced You

Oil on panel, 11 x 10

Family Games

Oil on panel, 11 x 10

Missing Matador

Acrylic and ink on paper, 36 x 34.5

Where are you going with this?

Mixed media, 36 x 37

Defending my Position

Oil on panel, 11 x 30

Targeting Blame (with apologies to Piet Mondrian)

Acrylic on paper, 24 x 30

Emotional abuse is focused on manipulating the victim until they blame themselves. This is also called “gaslighting.”

Indoctrination of the Innocent

Indoctrination of the Innocent 24 x 30, oil on linen Indoctrination is the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. (

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