The fibre of communication

New works by Elizabeth Carefoot in the Amelia Douglas Gallery

By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor

Back on November 8 and 9, a heartwarming opening reception followed by a stirring Artist’s Talk opened a number of Douglas students and faculty to the works of Elizabeth Carefoot. But for the many that did not get the chance to attend these two events, I managed to get an interview with the artist on her latest exhibit in our Amelia Douglas Gallery, Needle Doodle.

When Carefoot isn’t putting on dance performances, she spends her time working with various art mediums. This new exhibit focuses on her multimedia work, which features everything from her sewn work to little creatures-of-sorts she’s put together.

I’ve always found multimedia art intriguing, as it’s built on combining a number of different art styles to create something that can only be described as original. I wanted to know what brought her to using all these mediums, rather than focusing on just one.

“When I was very young,” begins Carefoot, “on Fridays when I came home from school, I would find some small art gift on my desk from my father. He was not at all artistic and claimed he knew nothing about art, but on his way home from work he passed by an art store.

“Every Friday he would go into that art store and buy me something that caught his eye. He never asked the clerk what it was he was buying, and sometimes what I got from him was incomplete and some of the things he brought home were totally incomprehensible to me. So I was always experimenting with these materials without any instructions.”

Her art initially came from a personal place, so this puts light on the exhibit’s Artist’s Statement where Carefoot says it’s “a revealing display of my inner life.” But what does that mean to her all these years later?

“As with most artists, the artwork created is always a subconscious reflection of an inner life. I also try to incorporate something humorous and slightly incongruous into a piece. The ‘Angel of Birds’ is an example—the rubber ducky in the lower corner is my little joke there. [Whereas] some of the darker pieces are a tribute to friends who have had traumatic experiences that have also affected me.”

What I like most about Carefoot is that she definitely outshines many past exhibit artists in personality and opinion. I’ve asked the question of what one would say to younger artists to the point where it’s been on the backburner for a while, but I had to know what Carefoot specifically would say in that situation. I got probably the most original answer I’ve heard in a long time.

“I feel that the least said is usually the better about artwork. The viewer has to put in some time with the work in order for it to speak to them. I encourage the viewer to come to his or her own interpretations of what [one] offers. We each bring our own life experiences to the interpretations of what we see, and the more work the viewer puts into trying to understand, the more he or she will get out of it.”

Needle Doodle will be up in the fourth floor of the New West campus in the Amelia Douglas Gallery until January 4, 2013. As always, admission is open to everyone, so be sure to check out this unique new exhibit.