We recently visited the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas for the opening of Elizabeth Turk’s artist residency. The residency and show is a coming-home of sorts for the artist, who grew up in Orange County but until now has been working in New York. The Lux space seems to fit her work well, as the modern lines of the architecture and sculpture blend with the inherent organic atmosphere of her conceptual queries and the surrounding landscape.
Elizabeth’s stark white marble forms look convincingly skeletal, offering an inverse to the dark bio-mechanical world of H.R. Giger.
She’s a slender lady, but unleashes a plethora of power tools to create her intricate sculpture from such a hard material. Elizabeth grinds the marble with a wide range of diamond and carbide-tipped tools, from large power grinders to small metal files and dental instruments.
The corner of the gallery space will act as Elizabeth’s makeshift studio during her stay.
The studio space is filled with studies, images of inspiration, and notes on patterns in nature, evolution, and psychology.
One of Elizabeth’s sculptures is made from an immense marble slab, resting on the floor. These stalagmite-like water droplet forms had us glancing up at the ceiling… for what I’m not quite sure.
Elizabeth has created a series of collars that are intended to be “delicately monumental.” The time and physical exertion takes it’s toll on the artist, motivating her to find relaxation in graphite drawings. I’m not sure how relaxing it was to draw these highly detailed hair-like strands on two 45 foot rolls of vellum – I guess it’s all relative.
Elizabeth also creates intricate drawings and prints, mixing flora and fauna into semi-recognizable but otherworldly patterns.
In addition to the opportunity to interact with the artist and her art, the Lux property itself is most definitely worth the visit. The Lux building, which was recently LEED certified (the first art museum in California with that distinction), is nestled into a native California chaparral covered hillside just north of San Elijo Lagoon. Elizabeth will be working in residency at LUX through Oct. 3, but her work will be up through 10/31.