Collage A Day Project by Elizabeth Vorlicek
January 9, 2020 – March 9, 2020
Exhibition Reception: January 25th, 2020 2-4PM
I create environments in collage and three-dimensional still-life arrangements, that not only capture moments from daily life, but also unfurl fantastical settings from my imagination.
Stamps, envelopes, scraps of fabric and patterned paper detritus are composed in arrangements, setting up compositions and a sense of play of color, texture and space. Slip and under-glaze painted “clay textile” slabs swaddle and form the skin and foundation for my clay works. Paper which folds, cloth which drapes and vines which intertwine, work to house and interact with the arrangements. Colors’ ability to flirt with the onlooker and activate the space within each composition is a constant source of motivation.
In my paper collages, I work intuitively, in much the same way that I do with my clay work. I have always been drawn to the process of taking un-related items and combining them together to form a whole: a structure and system. I tap in to the world of trompe l’oeil in the work and remain profoundly compelled by the way that I can depict mundane and ephemeral objects like crinkled paper and folded cloth in clay; essentially recording transient moments in time.
The transformation of mud to ceramics is tantalizing for me as an artist grounded in such an essential craft medium. I am drawn in by the worlds created by 16th century Dutch still life painters and the feeling that something just happened, is about to happen or is under-way. I seek to tap in to the entropy held in the still-life arrangements, and take it a step further in these 3-D collages and collage environments. I am compulsively drawn to the act of making by hand and procuring the ready-made and mixing up the two in the “Duchampian” tradition. Collecting and squirreling things away, just in case, is part of my nature . . . Nothing is ever really safe from being re-purposed. Pieces that sit on my studio shelves can always be re-discovered and combined with another form or composition.
Collage is a medium that each of us can latch onto in some way. Building up collage environments brings me back to the complete and utter escape of being 7 years old and constructing the perfect outdoor settings for my Barbies and dolls, in my Mom’s Northwest Philadelphia rock garden. When I assembled the glittering Wissahickon Schist stones to form curves and walls for Sun Gold Malibu Barbie’s pool and apartment, the design elements of line, color, shape, form, space, texture and value were at work. My labor under the deeply wooded lot of oak trees was important work to bring a bit of bling and style to the life of my dolls. I was making art through play and I did not even know it.
This collection of works highlighting flowers was produced in a year of making a collage a day for a year. The pledge to work each day brought me back to my studio practice, and my life as an artist and sculptor. Flowers are a visual way for me to connect with people: whether it be in our garden and the joy that is brought to viewers through a glorious patch of glowing sunflowers or multi-colored zinnias, or in the robust bouquets that I like to make for our chapel at Episcopal High School. Flowers bring people together; they transport us from the daily tasks at hand and connect us to beauty and moments of being truly connected to the earth.
Working in collage, and building up parts to make a whole, has deeply informed my practice as a sculptor. I find inspiration in seeing a pile of unrelated materials and creating relationships through a spark of joy and inspiration. I collect and “organize” my collage materials in bags that I can carry with me on trips or to share with my students. Seeing the way that different people will work with the same materials is truly inspiring; something is inevitably revealed about the maker through their unique choices.
My parents are artists and former design professors. They used collage in their design courses as a “user friendly” mode to teach students about color stories and composition. Their influence is lasting, and John and Mary Vorlicek remain my two biggest role models in my art career.
Thank you to my Mom and Dad for their unconditional love and support of my play and discovery in the flower garden, art studio and beyond. I would also like to thank Mary Welch Higgins for this opportunity to show in the Passage Gallery.
Liz is an artist and sculptor living in Alexandria Virginia. Liz shows her work in the D.C. area and around the United States. She is a member of the Washington Sculptor’s Group and holds a MFA and a BFA degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Liz is a high school art teacher at Episcopal High School and is the Gallery Director at the Angie Newman Johnson Gallery at EHS’s Ainslie Arts Center. Liz has worked in collage since her years as an under-graduate and finds inspiration for her sculptural work and installations through the medium. Liz enjoys working with her community and with other artists in outreach projects. In her free time, Liz enjoys bird watching, long boarding, hiking and gardening. Liz, a daughter of two artists, grew up in Philadelphia and has lived in Western New York, Scotland, Seattle, and most recently, in Alexandria. Her travels to China, Europe, Mexico, Canada and around the United States (to many of the National and State Parks) has shaped her deeply. Liz and her husband, Nat, enjoy being part of the community at the boarding school where they live and teach.
To see more of Liz’s work follow her on Instagram @LizVorlicek