Californian artist Liz Craft (*1970 in Los Angeles, CA, USA) creates sculptures and figurative installations that appear to be fragments in space. They seem to tell us dream-like stories summoning an atmosphere that can be associated with Surrealism, fairy tales or drug hallucinations. The formal language of her works has an immediate effect on the viewer, the techniques and materials merging without hierarchy – ranging from fabric, plastic, glass and papier mâché to synthetic resin, ceramics and bronze.
For her art, Craft draws primarily on ideas from the American counterculture of the 1960s, psychedelic experiences and pop culture. She borrows imagery from B-movies, Westerns and horror films as well as from comics and the aesthetics of amusement park backdrops. Liz Craft frequently lifts figures such as witches, unicorns, motorcyclists, pirates and the Grim Reaper out of their familiar contexts to quote, exaggerate or condense them in her works.
Displayed in the exhibition space, the works enter into relationships with each other, like actors in a theatre piece. The figures’ gazes, words and gestures are arranged in new constellations each time they are presented, always telling a different story. In the series Speech Bubbles, wall sculptures whose shape recalls the speech bubbles in comic books or instant messages seem to be having conversations amongst themselves. The works bear punchy titles such as Suck it Hippie! (2017) or Do You Love Me Now (2019).
Craft’s sculptural work has a sprawling quality, for example the wall piece Strange Thing (2018), a parasitic organism made of electrical switch boxes and cable lines that spreads out across the walls, exploring its boundaries. The sculptures call to mind that particular brand of Californian irreverence that can be summed up by the words “Too Cool for School”. This phrase reflects an attitude derived from American teen movies, describing a casual but arrogant individual who likes to defy rules and social codes.