Elizabeth Bick: Beatification and Every God
Elizabeth Bick has a painter’s eye, an ability to find the extraordinary in the every day, and a sense of beauty and movement that elevates the human condition on the streets of New York. Elizabeth can’t quite be considered a traditional street photographer–her work feels more operatic and emotional, but she spends plenty of time observing the pageantry of life outside the front door. This summer, Elizabeth will have a residency at LATITUDE in Chicago, and will have work in a group show, FACE IT, curated by Lynn Whitney at Bowling Green State University in September. In January of 2017, Elizabeth will open a solo exhibition at the University of Texas Visual Arts Center. As a faculty member of the School of Visual Arts in New York, Elizabeth has been on assignment several times for the dance reviews for the NY Times–which not only connects her to her past as a dancer, but to the choreography seen on the sidewalks of the city
Elizabeth Bick is a photographer based in New York City. Informed by a past as a classical ballerina, Bick sees the street as neutral ground where improvisational collaborative performance is constant. She received an MFA in Photography from Yale University and a BFA in Photography from Loyola University. She has participated in residencies at the American Academy in Rome, Santa Fe Art Institute, Chateau La Napoule, LMCC, and has received grants from The Joan Mitchell Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts Houston. Her work has been exhibited at Fraenkel Gallery, Aperture Foundation, Proposition Gallery, Lincoln Center, and Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. Her work has been featured in the NY Times, Photograph Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Interview Magazine, Vice Magazine, Paper Journal Magazine, and Huffington Post.
Through photography I explore the socio-political relationships between the self and others. Although voyeurism and tourism come into play, as a former dancer I am aware of the politics of objectification. Not quite street photography or visual anthropology, the work explores how self-representation impacts our values and beliefs: in effect, our social contract.
I photograph performances that occur ritually–some consciously staged; most unconsciously so. To analyze these performances, I often hire professional dancers to mimic the movements of strangers in public spaces. In other work I locate a “stage” in a public, transient, uncanny space and capture seemingly banal fleeting movements as performances, i.e.- the subjects’ gesture, costuming, and the built or natural stage around them. The work becomes a play of intentional and unintentional self-representation.
I borrow the aesthetic impact of dramatic light and shadow that Caravaggio and El Greco crafted in their paintings, to contemplate and accentuate the uncanny transcendent capabilities of a photographic image.
Every God, 2014 – ongoing
Follow Elizabeth on Instagram @elizabethbick
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