ADDS DONNA is pleased to present “Open Furrows” a solo exhibition featuring works by Liz Chilsen including photography, ceramics, drawings and video.
Liz Chilsen: Open Furrows
April 14th – May 26th, 2023
Opening reception Friday, April 14th, 6-9 PM
Artist Talk Saturday, May 13th, 2:00 PM
Closing reception Friday, May 26th, 6-9 PM
Images of the earth and objects made from the earth link multiple processes of making in Liz Chilsen’s exhibition, rooted in her deep emotional ties to the Driftless region of Wisconsin. Her photography and video works offer striking visuals of the beauty and drama of the region, as drawings and ceramics hold the memory of her hand and reference the histories of her forebears. Ceramic sculptures smoke-fired on the site of her ancestral family farm encapsulate memories and stories from the past. Liz’s installation presents processes that emphasize her dual identity as urban dweller and rural descendant.
The fecundity of an open furrow, the thin slice of earth that forms, and the potential for new growth.
For this exhibition I set out to create an experience of elements that form and inform my work: fire, air, family, soil, water, love, forgiveness, gratitude. Much of what is presented is work I’m in the midst of making; the flurry of engagement with multiplicities, and a feeling of working on the verge is part of it.
The drawings are recent; meditations on the sculptures, which are also quite recent. I set a regular/frequent, not-quite-yet-daily, practice of study, experiencing the three dimensions anew. The rubbings record my physical interaction with 300 year-old logs that form the house on my mother’s ancestral farm in Wisconsin. The sculptures are smoke-fired in small batches, fueled by materials gleaned from my collections – old newspapers, notes, and messages, seeds and branches. I conduct the firings in places meaningful to me and my family.
My ideas are honed in duality and multiplicity, and a deep interest in history and place has long been a part of my artistic practice.
These works are grounded in family and place, loss and attainment, & the cleansing power of fire, which features prominently both here and in my history. Powerful, terrible, formative, creative, fierce. Both in the life of my ancestors, and in my work.
Whatever the media – whether photography, sculpture, mark-making – I rely on metaphor… I am coaxing meaning from material. What I hope comes through is the rooted & groundedness in my creative practice.
The furrowed brow, deep creases, born in the brows of my ancestors. Especially the women.
Liz Chilsen is a Chicago-area artist. Her works explore connections between human spirit, ancestral time, and physical place. Intuition is a driving force in her practice. Whatever the medium, she tunes in to the moment and physical presence, bringing form to her perception.
Chilsen is Founder and Director of “Lessons of Place”, a photographic study of endangered places funded in part by Illinois Humanities and centered in small towns and rural areas in Illinois. Her photography includes a long-term study of place dynamics, immigration, and family.
Ms. Chilsen’s work has been exhibited throughout the US and internationally and is held in collections at Detroit Institute of Arts, Wisconsin Historical Society, Nicaragua Cultural Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Illinois Comer Archive, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography.
Chilsen is recipient of numerous awards and honors, including an Individual Artist Fellowship from IL Arts Council, an IL Humanities Bicentennial Action Grant, a Telly Award, National Educational Media Award, and Intercom Award at Chicago International Film Festival. She has been artist in residence at Ragdale Foundation, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, and Hyde Park Art Center’s Center program.
Chilsen holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College and a Bachelor of Science in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is Executive Director of The Riverside Arts Center (RAC).