Elizabeth Thorp lives and works in Madison, WI. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Art at the University of Wisconsin Madison and will graduate in June 2017. Thorp was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design and has worked as a woodworking instructor and studio manager at several universities and arts organizations.
Artifice is the only essential skill of the artist: a manipulation achieved by selectively revealing and concealing. Drywall hides pipes, ducting, and wiring which do essential work for us. Wood, paint, and a well placed vent conceal consumer electronics that perform for us daily but are seldom considered for their sound and breath. My work questions our relationship to the unseen side of built environments by exposing the invisible, whether simply out of view or too common to notice. Wood poses as plastic, plastic as paper, cardboard as clay.
Our engagement with objects puts us in touch with materials; materials provide both accurate and misleading evidence as to the story of things. My work is full of impersonators, objects performing as others. Plastic bearings play at being furniture. Hand painted wood mimics a manufactured device. These pieces are amalgamations: old, new, found, fabricated, discovered, lost, abandoned, rescued, irrelevant, essential. The work asks how we use, recognize, connect, and become attached to things; pointing to the complex world of human relationships.