Elizabeth Powell

Elizabeth Powell is a printmaker in Iowa City. She is currently teaching at the University of Iowa where she is pursuing her MFA in Printmaking. She was raised in Vermont where she received her undergraduate degree in both the fine arts and economics from the University of Vermont.

I came to Spain to visit palaces such as the Alcázar of Seville and the Alhambra because of my interest in conceptual patterning. In Islamic and Mudéjar art, patterning is extremely important because it is meant to transcend the bounds of earth and become a representation of paradise.

My work often deals with repetition, taking simple shapes and motifs and expanding them into an enveloping structure contained within the boundaries of a single piece of paper. I use pattern because it is symbolic of a repeated sensation and action. Pattern does not speak of a single instance of emotion but implies a repetitive nature to a depicted feeling. It has a continuous effect on its surroundings, and in this way, pattern becomes an ideal way to discuss social constructs.

Beneath the odd shapes and overlying skeletal structures of my work, my images leave an undeniably feminine impression. The symmetrical shapes are often torso-like with breasts, belly, and pelvis. The forms are elegant with softly rounded edges. Unexpected and sometimes odd, up close the images are not wholly symmetrical. While appearing to repeat, the forms have their own autonomy and can change and grow while still existing within a strict structure. Wild and unnatural, they are bulging beyond their bounds.

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