Liz HarveyOakland, CA
My process is to collaborate with fictional co-authors and existing texts. I work with pre-existing materials, combining them to highlight relationships between a co-author and an idea, or an idea and a text. Most of my work comes back to asking you to empathize and feel connected to someone or something. Each installation, sculpture, or performance has a meditative quality that comes from repetition and simplicity both in process and in form.
In my work, I have framed my practice as a fictive “collaboration” with a California-based female artist from the 1970s, “Pam”. My sculptures were made in “dialogue” with her. I looked at the oft-heard refrain that feminism is now unnecessary, resulting in Trying To Remember, a kinetic installation. I tried to “remember” myself into someone else’s history, talking with Pam, choosing materials, and with her advice, working with them.
In my collaboration with Pam, I used materials that I would normally eschew as dated: vibrators and nylons. I used motion sensors to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the viewer and the work. The movement of a circle being inscribed, and continually interrupted, was my meditation on the long overdue critical examination of the power and legacy of the work of the feminist artists of the 1970s.
Other installations combined texts with everyday materials, again, co-authoring. I quoted a study on same-sex parents and their children in an installation called Sentences, spelling out words on rings of plastic Dymo labels common in the 1970s. In Camouflaged, I gave viewers polaroids of themselves looking through party masks covered with quotations from lesbian coming-out stories from my community. In current work, The Gulliver Project, in collaboration with Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, I imagine myself as several artists: a public artist making a memorial about Gulliver and an artist collective who produces mementos of him. I do this to explore satirical humor about today’s government coverups of greed and the hunger for power and control. If we carry around unexamined stereotypes, are bombarded with misinformation, and create havoc around us by not understanding others, what role could objects play in cutting through the fog of information, of grand narratives? I want objects to help us empathize with one another.
Liz Harvey works in sculpture, installation and performance. Her work has been shown since 1993 in galleries, museums, and alternative spaces. Harvey’s work “actively engages the rich and multifarious history of feminist art practice, while also attesting to a highly personal and singular vision,” according to Los Angeles critic and poet Eve Wood (Artnet.com, March 2003). She was the recipient of the Peninsula Artists Grant in 2007 and the California Arts Council Artists Fellowship in Sculpture in 1997.
Her solo shows include Spread at Matrushka, Los Angeles; shy lemons greens cool chocolates at Whittier College’s Greenleaf Gallery, Whittier, CA; and Panabnorama at Ed Giardina Gallery, Santa Ana, CA. Group show venues include Sherry Frumkin Gallery, Santa Monica; the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena; San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art; and the Holland Tunnel Gallery, New York. She has held residencies at Side Street Projects, Santa Monica, and Dorland Art Colony, Temecula, CA. Additional teaching residencies with students ages 9-13 in Long Beach and Los Angeles were funded by the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the California Arts Council, and her work with students in public art was featured on public transit buses and bookmarks from 1997-2001.
Currently Liz is collaborating with dancer and Montalvo artist-in-residence Jose Navarrete on a work that responds to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift using scupture and movement.