|Artist Lizzy Waronker - Malibu Mag - April 2012
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Specializing in assemblage and installation work crafted
from the urban detritus of yard sales, antique shops, roadsides, LA artist
Lizzy Waronker's work transforms mundane oddments into cherished objects
much of LA's artscene relies on nepotism and seniority as a precursor to
success, Waronker's vision and originality have struck a chord with many,
defying her relatively short career.
Hailing from Old Saybrook, CT she graduated from
Macalester College with a major in anthropology and film-making and has
been sculpting since 2006.
Testament to her works' quality, she was recently
commissioned by musician Ben Lea to design the cover for his most recent album
Deeper Into Dream, while Radiohead megastar Thom Yorke is also a keen fan, having
bought several of her pieces at a show held at LA's Bleicher Gallery last year.
it's a comment on consumer culture, personal reinvention or rebirth,
analyzing the appeal of Lizzy's her work is a nebulous process.
Though like all good art, its meaning is multi dimensional and a matter of
her key influences, Lizzy cites her main influence
is Louise Bourgeois, and his room sized installations, though a range
other ideas permeate her work, "Im into religious art, particularly Catholic
reliquaries and Voudou shrines. I also like the assemblages and mixed
media paintings of Max Ernst. He captures an essence of mystery that I love."
"I like the idea of peeking through cracks in the walls to
spy on secret scenes inside. My sculpture "Coney Island" plays
with this idea of seeing the secret world of others, of not getting the
complete story, and of drawing conclusions based on personal experience rather
than the facts."
Lizzy says her work aims to "bring dreams, desires, and
aspirations into the physical world." Adding, " I am attracted to the idea
that the correct combination of items can create an energetic field that
actually affect the world and the viewer. I always try to bring a sense
of this energy into my sculptures."
Waronker says her work is essentially assemblage, though
it borders other media. "At the moment, I have been exploring my assemblages
through photography. ' This work, she says sees her making temporary
sculptures and photographing them, as she did with the Ben Lee album cover.
"These sculptures are then destroyed and all that exists is the
photograph (and the memory), she adds"
"In addition to my assemblages, I like to
make temporary installations when I show in a gallery setting. I like the
viewer to feel as though they have walked inside one of my sculptures when they
enter an exhibition. I hope to give them a sense of wonder, like being a
child who believes in magic."
For her newest works she's sourcing inspiration from the
photographs of artists Hannah Wilke and Francesca Woodman. "They explore
feminist ideas and used their own bodies as a canvas. They were
courageous in their imagery which could be incredibly shocking."
inspiration comes from nature and the effects of elements on untended man-made
things, such as abandoned houses or cars. I like to see the way these rot
and meld the natural environment around them."
the physical process involved in creating her assemblages, Lizzy says she
spends anywhere between one and six months on a single piece. "It can take anywhere from three to twelve months to
make a sculpture. Once in a while, they come out very fast, say two
weeks, or very slowly. Horology took two years." The work in question
takes shape from a cathedral shaped frame holding an antique padlock and
covered with a shattered layer of glass.
Other pieces use intricate placement of a variety of objects,
from toys to stuffed animals though to fragments of old letters, birds
nests and shattered crockery.
says she gathers material to construct her work via a fossicking process, with
material collected at yard sales, antique shops, 'at the side of the road on
garbage day. She adds, "my favorite way to gather material is passively;
every so often I arrive home to find a bottle of teeth on my doorstep, or a bag
of bird's wings. "
people know I use these materials for art, and they are more than happy to
donate the things from the backs of their closets. It is very interesting
to see what appears. In addition to the above, I have been given a box of
WWII correspondences between a husband and wife, a collection of feathered,
velvet hats from the 1930s, many animal pelts, boxes of photographs, doll
parts, clippings from haircuts, bottles of buttons and more."
their apparent lack of significance and low value, Lizzy feels her materials
belie depth and a meaning of their own. "I realized
objects could be amazingly powerful on the energetic level after working in the
archives of a natural history museum as a college student. I was
cataloguing native American artefacts that hadn't been handled in at least
fifty years. "
"I very quickly became aware of, not only their beauty, but of
their energy. These items were so powerful that I actually got a little
freaked out. The anthropologist for whom I was working had to explain to
me that feeling the energy (or seeing an actual ghost, as I did) was not
unusual with ceremonial objects. I've always been mesmerized by this idea
and have always sought to bring this into my own work. "
shown in various Los Angeles galleries since 2009, she had her
first solo show in May 2011 at Caporale Bleicher Gallery in Hollywood. She also
shows currently with Bleicher Gallery in West Hollywood.
Written by Craig Stephens
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