Lingering at the intersection of the natural and material world, artist Elizabeth Garvey’s mixed media assemblages often juxtapose familiar symbols of the demands of modern society with organic materials that remind of a more primitive, elemental time.
For her recent exhibit, “This is What Progress Feels Like,” at the Gordon Parks Gallery at Metropolitan State University, she combined natural materials with office related objects to look at how our experience of the world has changed with the relatively recent population shift away from rural areas to more urban environments—“having more familiarity with the office life than any of the rhythms of the natural world,” she says.
The found objects she largely deals with, occasionally have their own stories to be told. Whether it’s an old typewriter with the gentle patina of dormancy, a pocket watch that stopped ticking at an untold point in time, or a set of rusted skeleton keys she suspends in jars of honey, her work, she says, often revolves around an unspoken collaboration with the objects.
“I just really feel inspired by the materials,” she says. “They have a past and I think that helps the work be accessible to people. Even if they’re not able to touch the artwork, they know what all those materials feel like—they’re weight and their smoothness and roughness—I think that helps you get into the work.”