Lives and works in Salem, MA
(b. 1982, American)
“The process of discovery is among the reasons I prefer to work with found objects and domestic materials. In order for the piece to function I need to consider the history, the color, the form, or the pattern choices of the designer, the traditional domestic application, and the amount of positive and negative space within a form or pattern. It becomes a collaboration between myself, the material, and the original designer that shapes the work through intuition and dialog.”
The American Dream and aspirations of comfortable living have never felt within easy reach for my generation, but as a young wife I am the target market for this ideal. The ubiquitous notion of the American home as a symbol for status, power, and security has led me to examine my own relationship with home and consider the untidy aspects of this place for our secret emotional lives. Living with and loving others who battle mental illness and chronic pain has complicated my experience with private space. An increased visibility of unrealistic standards devalues human behavior and imperfection while celebrating a well-constructed veneer.
Repetitive labor, such as paper cutting or casting, has become a centering element in my process where I can work through frequent moments of illness or stress. A combination of cast paper sculpture, sculptural collage, and altered objects are my methods for deconstructing domestic vignettes of traditional success and beauty. This labored breakdown of archetypes unveils a rot behind the shiny exterior while mirroring the cultural pressure to gloss over personal turmoil and carry on. Careful extraction of every adornment neutralizes the distinctive qualities of any selected material I engage with. These altered objects and manufactured spaces seem double edged: dreamlike scenarios that are both familiar and foreign with a frequent shift in mood, a neutered utility, a composite make up, or a hidden hollowness.
- Elizabeth Alexander is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in sculptures and installations made from deconstructed domestic materials.
- Through labored processes separating decorative print from found objects she unearths elements of human behavior and hidden emotional lives that exist within the walls of our homes.
- She holds degrees in sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy, MFA, and Massachusetts College of Art, BFA, where she discovered the complex nature of dissecting objects of nostalgia.
- Alexander’s work has recently been featured in the Burke Prize Finalist exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design, State of the Art at the Crystal Bridges Museum, and will be featured in Paper Routes, Women to Watch 2020, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
- She is included in permanent collections at the Crystal Bridges Museum (Bentonville, AR) and the Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC).
PRESS + MEDIA
Burke Prize 2019
[Museum of Arts and Design]
Elizabeth Alexander: State of the Art
12 x 12: Elizabeth Alexander
The Great Enemy of Truth
[Appalachian State University]
Making a Modern Woman
[Washington County News]
Carolina Art Crush: Elizabeth Alexander
UNC Galleries Spotlight: Elizabeth Alexander & Charles Clary: Skin Deep
[Video; University of Northern Colorado]