We are officially in the Holocene (“entirely recent”) epoch, which began 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age, but many argue for the current period to be term “Anthropocene”—from anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “new”—because human-kind has incurred a profound enough impact on the earth to merit the classification. Claims about global warming aside, mass extinctions of plant and animal species, and pollution on a large scale have inarguably changed the planet.
Elizabeth Stevenson is directly inspired by this concept in her work, “… it fueled me to keep creating,” she explains. “Natural patterns are what originally inspired me to create this body of work. The lines I would see in sand when water washed over it or the small orb like forms of pollen particles. After looking to so much of nature for inspiration it made sense to study the science surrounding it. Once I had a better understanding of how nature works and the way in which humans are destroying it I found even more reason to create work motivated by it.”
For Stevenson, the process begins with a study of microscopic images: “Beginning with open organic forms I wished to investigate natural configurations that I saw and abstract them.” In the very beginning, she finds the three-dimensional forms to be soft and fragile, almost vulnerable to the pending manipulation by the artist’s hand. Her carving is primarily deductive, removing mass to create new empty space.
“The forms continued to push me to create and find different processes for making, which led me to develop a more jagged and unraveled representation of the natural world. With these new lines and shapes I began to look to more macroscopic imagery for inspiration. There is a glacial quality in the appearance of the newer pieces, as the lines seem to melt and become undone. Fluid lines drip off into empty space, or are they being contained? All of these forms seemingly contained within a circle, which I can only explain as an attempt to control what I was creating or to control the things that inspire me.”
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BFA candidate, Interdisciplinary Sculpture, Kentucky College of Art + Design at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.