Liz Hickok: Ground Waters
Liz Hickok is a San Francisco-based artist working in photography, video, sculpture, and installation. She received her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA, a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and a BA from Tufts University in Boston, MA. The photographs and video from her series GROUND WATERS have the ability to evoke a wide range of emotions. There’s an element of tension, especially in the imagery that eludes to structures and urban landscapes, immersing the viewer into a Planet of the Apes moment, looking back on a fallen world. Yet, in a different light, the sunset colors and flowing abstractions draw in elements of aesthetics. As a metaphor for the current and future state of our own planet, GROUND WATERS exemplifies how beauty can be toxic, yet oddly enticing.
Inspired by the ephemeral nature of Earth’s landscape, from the built structures to the subterranean layers that comprise the planet—I explore the intersection of chemistry, the environment, and imagination in my Ground Waters series. I hand-construct elaborate, scale models of natural and urban spaces, flood the tiny ecosystems with a crystal growing solution and record the ephemeral growth and deterioration using photography and time-lapse video. As time passes, the crystals engulf the sculptures, transforming them into otherworldly spaces. While the colors are vibrant and inviting, a geological narrative emerges, referencing the pollutants that seep into and saturate our environment with toxic chemicals.
Within the series, each experiment yields unique imagery that, at times, specifically references the landscape. In other instances, the materials reveal a more abstract environment that only suggests the invisible forces at work around us. Several pieces allude to the layers of the earth and imagine underground waterways and chemical formations.
In addition to my still photographs and time-lapse videos, I also create large-scale, site-specific works within the series, which enables me to manipulate—even further—the perceived scale of my sculptures. The effect calls into question what is real and what is imagined, evoking a fantastical space in which viewers can immerse themselves. By changing the setting in which the work is viewed, the meaning is re-contextualized and new audiences are welcomed into the conversation. – Liz Hickok
Liz Hickok has exhibited at arts institutions across the country and internationally from Washington to Israel. Liz recently completed Facebook’s first-ever photomural project for their new San Francisco offices and is currently in the process of commissioning 11 pieces for a large hospital project set to open in 2019. In 2017, Liz developed photomurals for Google’s San Francisco offices as well as the New Museum in Los Gatos, CA. She was recently included in Natural Systems, Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland, CA; Water, PhotoPlace Gallery, Middlebury, VT; and Supernatural Urban, Peephole Cinema, San Francisco, CA. Hickok is currently included in Salon at the Triton: A 2D Art Competition & Exhibition, Santa Clara, CA where she won 1st Finalist in Photography. 2019 will see Liz’s work installed at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts in Longview, TX for her solo show Intimate Immensity.
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