An Interview With Sculpture Artist Elizabeth McGrath


by Kevin Titzer

Elizabeth McGrath has been exploring life’s dark corners for a very long time. Whether she’s singing in a punk band or creating her fantastical sculptures, Ms. McGrath always manages to find the grace and beautifully strange hiding in our periphery. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her life and art.




 

Sculpture by Liz McGrathOver the last few years your work has gotten more refined. In earlier work you constructed more dioramas often involving painted graphics and adornments. The elements in your work over time have become more focused and concise. Was this a process you actively pursued or was it just a natural progression?

I think it came about after the gallery I was showing with, BSFA, closed down- and so I was doing a lot of group shows- the galleries requested more sculptures so their shows would become more balanced, also to free up wall space- so my work started to veer in the direction of sculpture whereas before I would focus on the paintings and the overall piece the sculptures were more of a support to the whole of these- but now I had time to start focusing on just the sculptures and such and pay more attention to the details that went into them, sometimes even creating dioramas inside of them.

Sculpture by Liz McGrath

I understand your mother is from Singapore. Do you still have family there?

Yes, I do, an aunt and uncle and several cousins though I haven’t seen them in over 30 years.

I listen to lot’s of podcasts and audiobooks in the studio. Do you listen to anything while you work or do you prefer a quiet studio?

Yes, I have been a member of audible from the first year they started!!! I love a good audio book!

Sculpture by Liz McGrath

How has motherhood changed your perspective?

It’s been very difficult for me to find a balanced schedule – I think I won’t be able to create art in the capacity that I used to till she is all grown up!

Sculpture by Liz McGrath

Building sculpture can some times have disadvantages. A 3D artist may require a larger studio space. They might need a wider range of tools. Storage of materials can be an issue. Packing finished work can be complicated. Shipping costs can be higher. Some galleries don’t always want the extra hassle of dealing with sculpture. It’s pretty common for art students to stop making sculpture all together when they no longer have access to school facilities. 

I’m not trying to suggest that artists working in 2D have a free ride. Although, there’s lots of reasons not to make 3D art or at the very least there’s realities that can make it not realistically feasible. 

Sculpture by Liz McGrath

So now I’m going to play devils advocate a bit here. What has motivated you to keep hammering away (no pun intended) at sculpture over the years?

I find that the galleries I work with welcome sculptural works because it fills out their shows and always makes it more interesting- however it is challenging to ship them and I’ve had to scale back in a lot of my ideas if the gallery is not local. Also, if the pieces are bought by someone in other states- I have to keep that in mind- also paintings sell for more- and you can make prints of your work!! But when I started doing this I wasn’t thinking about any of that- I didn’t go to art school I juts kind of started making stuff and can see these things in my head I have to release!!

If someone is thinking of an art career I know lots of sculptors who work for the movie/tv industry making sets, props, toys and such, and do very well- from a career standpoint- but I can’t imagine someone just going into it thinking I want to be an artist and I want to have a career in sculpture without some kind of calling so to speak, and if thats the case you don’t really have a choice!! You will have to follow your muse!

Check out more of Elizabeth McGrath’s art here:

http://elizabethmcgrath.com

https://www.facebook.com/elizabethmcgrathart/

And learn more about her in “Bloodbath – A Documentary about Elizabeth McGrath” by Cecil B. Feeder.

Sculpture by Liz McGrath
Sculpture by Liz McGrath

An Interview With Sculpture Artist Elizabeth McGrath


by Kevin Titzer

Elizabeth McGrath has been exploring life’s dark corners for a very long time. Whether she’s singing in a punk band or creating her fantastical sculptures, Ms. McGrath always manages to find the grace and beautifully strange hiding in our periphery. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her life and art.