Erika Lizée: Eternally Searching (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13)
By Genie Davis
Through December 1st
Erika Lizée may be Eternally Searching (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13) as the title of the artist’s new, utterly stunning installation at Los Angeles Art Association’s Gallery 825 suggests, but in seeing the work, viewers have arrived at the perfect destination.
It’s hard to describe in words the delicacy and the strength of Lizée’s work in acrylic on Duralar. There’s a spiritual, other-worldly journey in what she depicts, something infinite, a sense of wonder, an intuitive and mysterious invocation of color, light, and shadow.
Lizée’s recent trompe l’oeil and sculptural paintings have consistently used their dimensionality to allow the viewer an almost cosmic insight into nature, life, and the artist’s own perception. In her artist’s statement for LAAA, Lizee says she seeks to “express the conflicting feelings of wonder and uncertainty” as she creates work that serves as a “transformative experience…the installation serves as a metaphor for the journey of our personal and shared life experiences.” Looking at Lizée’s work here, there is both a transformation of expectations and an equally transformative philosophical shift at work. “Eternally Searching (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13),” pulls the viewer into a different world, a different dimension, something that is somehow eminently relatable, as if Lizée had pulled back the curtain on a tiny glowing fragment we’d intuitively almost glimpsed.
Pull the silken thread of convention and it unravels to reveal an entirely different way of looking at our own existence; look into the visual heart of “Eternally Searching(0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13),” and find what you’ve been looking for – beauty, yes, but also something far less prosaic, a rich and imagined place, one that is somehow made tangible and real. She is depicting that “ah ha!” moment that we all intrinsically long for, in which things suddenly makes sense, or go beyond “sense” into a more primal and magical space.
Working in purples and blues and silvers, and in clear Duralar orbs with floral-like painted pieces suspended inside, Lizée’s work here takes on an even deeper dimensionality than other recent installations.
She has created a portion of her work on the gallery wall, the doorway or portal into three dimensional elements that are as intricate and fascinating as they are amorphous. Here are galaxies, filaments of tissue, synapses, geometric patterns, flower seeds blossoming – an unfolding, as it were, of whatever you believe the images to represent. And there is no right answer to that: what we believe personally makes our perceptions of the work, and to some extent the work itself, mutable. And alive, ever so alive – you would not be remiss if you waited, in silence, for the walls themselves to breathe.
In the gallery’s description of Lizée’s installation here, the idea is expressed that the gallery walls are thresholds, beyond them a place where “complex biomorphic forms coalesce.” With this work, the artist calls up the mathematical sequence of the Fibonacci numbers, which visually appear as the Golden Spiral, the center piece of this work of art, and a clue to the existence of the universe.
Putting these perspectives aside, it is also possible to simply look at and admire the artistry of “Eternally Searching (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13),” the fluid way in which the painted acrylic on the gallery wall seamlessly becomes the swirling, sinuous sculptural painted pieces suspended out from it. And from those pieces, the small clear Duralar orbs emerge with the floral essences inside them, reminding the viewer of seed pods, or the gestation of another species, or the about-to-emerge expanded consciousness of the viewer. So, in the end, perhaps, it is impossible to only consider the artistry here, without finding it so compelling that we seek to define it, manage it, understand it, and explain our own awe.
The title says it all. Lizée compels us to keep searching, to embrace the eternal, to see the pattern – because the search, the eternity, the pattern – it is ours.
On exhibit through December 1st, but don’t wait to see this installation. You may want to come back and see it again, and again.