Dialogue

Kathleen Elliot's Liberties

To Have and to hold

Kathleen Elliot. Liberty #1 (2015). Glass, found bird cage. 23 x 11 x 11 in.

Kathleen Elliot. Liberty #1 (2015). Glass, found bird cage. 23 x 11 x 11 in.

Most artists I know are hard working creatives. They work ceaselessly, honing and refining their practice, their art.

Kathleen Elliot is such an artist. She's worked all her life, yet her serene pale glowing complexion framed by a beautiful silver halo belies her hard working ethic. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Kathleen Elliot was a rebel child of the '70s who found her way into marriage and a successful career in aesthetics, and later, in the corporate world.

Her work immediately provokes recognition, it is so representative of the natural world, when closer inspection shows the artist's hand, or rather, her imagination is definitely present. Reminiscent of the highly figurative work of Old Master Flemish painters, Elliot's work is created solely with a small little torch and threads of glass. In her artist's statement, Elliot writes:

What is real? How does one know? I have been immersed in these questions for over three decades through studying the intersection of philosophy, linguistics, biology, and spirituality. These questions provoke contemplation and curiosity. I try to bring this mood to my work, inviting viewers to be surprised, to wonder, to question and reconsider, to embrace curiosity and uncertainty. These are the moments in which we are most alive.

I work in series:

Natural Botanicals are three-dimensional trompe l’oeil, in which a brittle manufactured material takes on the appearance of something organic and pliant. They celebrate the beauty of nature and its ability to lift us out of the commotion of everyday life that seems so urgent and important, reminding us we belong to mysteries far greater.

Imaginary Botanicals entice us out of the confines of our ordinary realities, into alternate realities where the unexpected can appear.

Questionable Foods pokes at us to question what we are eating and what we call food.

The Liberty series addresses moments in life when we find ourselves trapped in cages, whether imposed upon us or of our own making, from the merely annoying to the painful and horrific. Some of us fortunately find opportunities to pull ourselves out and move into new realities.

Offerings are inspired by the teachings and mudras (spiritual hand gestures) of the Buddha. This series of work invites us out of the “I want” culture, into the spiritual healing and peace generated through gratitude and generosity.

Today's artist is the rebel child shaped by professional discipline who weaves vines of glass into fantastical shapes that are sometimes realistic, sometimes surrealistic, always beautiful.

We return to Elliot's work again and again because of the natural, yet fantastical, ideas she represents through her work. Bravo, Kathleen Elliot!

Kathleen Elliot. Liberty #2 (2015). Glass, found birdcage. 19.5 x 15 x 8 in.

Kathleen Elliot. Liberty #2 (2015). Glass, found birdcage. 19.5 x 15 x 8 in.