Landscape (1982) by Elizabeth Macdonald


Landscape (1982) by Elizabeth Macdonald

2,600.00 4,250.00

Oxidation-stained clay tile triptych.
"Landscape," 1982
Each signed to verso
48 1/2" x 21 1/2" x 3" (each)
Good condition. Hair line cracks to some tiles and possible small losses to paint throughout. One panel with losses to multiple tiles.

"To bring a work to life, I use only the pieces before me, as if I had opened a jigsaw puzzle box and spread the shapes all around, recognizing how organically the imagery evolves. The challenge lies in trusting that a dynamic will emerge as one that is stronger than any I could preconceive."
Elizabeth MacDonald discovered her current mosaic-making technique by happenstance. One day, while cleaning up her clay studio, she pressed leftover stain powder into a scrap of moist clay and tore the edges off around a block of wood. She immediately realized that she had found a way to use color that would satisfy her need for spontaneity and surprise, accomplishing both delicacy and crustiness.

Now she produces such "scraps" on purpose, pressing clay slabs into powdered pigment, tearing them into squares, firing them, and assembling them into compelling mosaic images such as these.

Her most intriguing designs are rectangular slabs with an archaeological or geological effect. Their earth-toned layers and striations give the effect of a mountainous landscape, a glimpse beneath the surface of the earth, or a close look at one of nature's exquisite details. Her aim is to convey, through contrasting textures, shapes and surfaces, an intuitive awareness of time and space.

I am particularly moved by the strong feminist foundation of her art, as she subverts the gender hierarchy by elevating earth, ceramic, craft-traditions, a folk art aesthetic to a position of verticality, placed on the wall and confronting the viewer with a brazen materiality and use of organic color fields that are not only textured, rough, organic but also intelligent in design and sublime in effect.  

ARTIST STATEMENT: With clay, I try to create the effects of intimacy and vastness through the use of fragmentation. Small surface elements draw the viewer into a larger context where hundreds of parts interact to form a whole. 

Marks of color, texture and layers of powdered ceramic stain are revealed as finished surfaces after the firing. As I choose powders of one imagined hue to mingle with another, I know that every bit of pigment, though hidden in the powdered mixture, will affect the whole. Results of this initial process become the chaos of fragments from which I work. Each element becomes a discovery.

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