Elizabeth Turk (American, born 1961)
Elizabeth Turk is primarily known for intricately carved marble sculptures. Her work pushes the boundaries of paradox; the contemporary in the traditional, the lightness in weight, the emptiness in mass, extended time in a moment. Reducing 500 lbs. of stone to an essential matrix of 10-25 lbs., the intricately carved sculptures defy gravity. Her fastidious art making process is then abandoned by placing her sculptures within a larger natural context; for example, transforming what was a “lace” marble sculpture into bones washed up on the shore. Her work pushes organic materials to extremes, defying the physical and psychological limits of what is possible. Her mandala series links that concept to the science behind the shape of shells through x-rays of the objects that she channels into abstract compositions of repeated patterns.
Turk graduated from Scripps in 1983 and later received her MFA from Rinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art in 1994. She exhibits widely and has received numerous fellowships and awards: MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Annalee and Barnett Newman Fellowship, Smithsonian Research Fellow, Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, NYC Art Commission Award for Excellence, and a McColl Center Artist-in-Residence, among others.