Elizabeth Turk: Heaven, Earth, Home

October 5, 2018 - February 10, 2019

Turning a block of marble into sinuous ribbons or translucent walls may sound like magic, but it is arduous physical work. Sculptor Elizabeth Turk, using diamond-tipped pneumatic and electric grinders, reshapes solid marble blocks, sometimes weighing hundreds of pounds, into refined objects characterized by dynamic surface movement or astonishing delicacy.

The works in this exhibit integrate Turk’s handwrought marble with materials refined over time by nature—smooth Baja beach stones and the gnarled roots of redwood extracted from a bog. These exquisite works open a space for a meditation on the natural world and the nature of art.

In his perceptive essay “Moments Written in Stone,” contemporary art curator and writer Dan Cameron notes that Turk’s goal “is to catalyze the transformation of a solid rock into a hollow space of air, to make a block into a ribbon, and convert geological density into sinewy delicateness. The stone, in an unexpected turn, seems to become more of what it always was, revealing aspects of its characteristic texture, pattern and surface that would not be as noticeable prior to its transformation.”

Turk’s other body of work in this exhibit, her Heaven & Earth ink drawings, display the spontaneity and deftness of the Zen “literati masters,” nonprofessional scholar-painters with a long tradition in China and Japan. In these quick, unlabored renderings, she achieves complexity of tone, texture, and brushstroke as she explores the dualities of light/dark, stasis/movement, physical/spiritual.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

 

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