“CUT – WORK” uses a surgeon’s scalpel to create spontaneous images. A clear mind and a steady hand guide Elizabeth Gregory–Gruen in her exploration into shadow and light .
Each image is initiated in the top layer of paper. An adhesive is added and another layer of paper , this layer is cut … the process continues, until a total reverse relief is created. The organic images defined in the numerous layers of paper capture light and create shadows changing with each moment.
The initial “Nature as Architect” series explored the cut images devoid of color . The concept of divine purity is examined – to transcend color to seek serenity. Light and shadow defining the whole. Using natural elements while embracing the spontaneous cut action allows the pure essence of nature to be revealed. The incorporation of controlled color in bi-color and tri-color combinations using a neutral palette akin to those found in nature bring a new dimension to the works. When an image is viewed, it appears one dimensional and exacting. Upon closer inspection, there is movement and depth. With this visual knowledge in mind the piece takes on an added intricacy. Creating an image within an image.
“SHOTGUN” concept allows the works to evolve by introducing spontaneous 12GG shotgun blasts. This element violently transforms the unity of the cut image. The intensity of the blast is regulated only by distance. Keeping to the spontaneous tradition pellets are shot at both the front and back of the work. The blow out effect on cut-work is striking.
“SHOTGUN” illustrates the paradoxical acts of nature and the human condition. When the “SHOTGUN” series is viewed , those with no knowledge of the process see mystery. Once the process is revealed , the work meets an emotional spectrum of a giggle to horror. The act of deconstruction often ilicits shock , to reach a viewer on an emotional level is the best outcome. In the “SHOTGUN” exploration a beauty can be found through shadows of violence and serenity can be reached once again. “CUTWORK” and “SHOTGUN” series has the circle as the primary base for the images. The circle is the root of life. The circle is without end … the definition of infinity.
Growing up in Chicago, Elizabeth Gregory – Gruen was introduced to the architectural world of Frank Lloyd Wright. This inspired her imagination to experiment with 3-dimensional design using natural light and shadow. Elizabeth came to New York City in 1985 to study Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design. Graduating in 1989 with a BFA in Fashion Design she went on to work at top design houses. Her work has appeared in major fashion magazine editorials including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle. She currently resides in New York City with her husband Bob Gruen.
ELIZABETH GREGORY – GRUEN
CUT WORK is an evolving examination of emotion using original imagery created in a free hand cut action technique employing a surgeon’s scalpel.
Original images are cut with no guide. It is visceral. A meditation.
Imperfection is perfection.
The image is defined by the authentic energy of the free hand cutting.
CUT WORK explores a range of mediums engaging the viewer to elicit emotion .
CUT ACTION TECHNIQUE
The image is initiated in the top layer of paper.
An adhesive is added and another layer of paper , the layer is cut … the process continues, until a total reverse relief is created.
A relief cut piece is created simultaneously – pushing out.
The outcome creates a place for light and shadow to define the image.
CUT WORK began with images devoid of color.
Transcending color to seek clarity. Divine purity is shown. Serenity achieved.
Controlled color sharpens the image.
At first sight the imagery appears in one dimension.
After inspection, movement and depth is revealed.
The visual knowledge adds dimension, often creating an image within an image.
12 gauge shotgun blasts violently deconstruct the unity of the cut image.
The intensity of the blow out is regulated by distance.
With no knowledge of the blow out process the image is a mystery. It is pure.
When the process is revealed, the act of violence can amuse or shock.
Cut action into skin using a surgeon scalpel creates an elegant and tactile
appearance . The act of cutting skin taps dark emotions.
Evolving the cut action to include mechanization of the computer.
The individual parts of the cut piece are scanned into the computer.
Each layer is laser cut in painted aluminum and reconstructed.
The size and scale of the image can be changed and evolved at will.
Multiples can be made … continuity into infinity.
Metal Cut Works are made starting with an original unique cut work made in paper.
Cut layers are not attached. The separate layers are scanned into the computer.
Each layer is then cut from a aluminum sheet. The layers are reassembled into a reverse relief.
The integrity of the free hand action remains true.
The Metal works are made using painted aluminum in color and in combination with anodized aluminum.
The Metal Cut Works were made at MILGO/BUFKIN, located in Brooklyn, New York.
MILGO/BUFKIN has more than 90 years of experience fabricating fine metalwork that has contributed to the buildings and sculptures that have transformed the skyline of New York and cities throughout the country and around the world.
All paper Cut Works are made using Rising Museum Board that is one of the finest quality boards available. It is made from 100% cotton (rag), acid and lignin free, with a pH of approximately 8.5, buffered with calcium carbonate, and alum free.
Rising Museum Board meets all the mandates of the Library of Congress for archival properties.
The color is pigment powder made into gouche paint and hand applied to the board surface.
The adhesive is resin based, internally plasticized polyvinyl acetate emulsion that contains no solvents. PH neutral & acid free.
The sharpest blades are stainless steel surgical blades.
These are same quality blades used in surgery.
12-gauge brass pellet
All leather pieces are 100% real leather. Lambskin, Vegetable finish Lambskin, Cow skin are included in the exhibition. Leather qualities hail from Italy and the USA.
September 2016 Cut Work – 1stdibs GALLERY AT 200 LEX, NYC
September 2014 Cut Work – KTCHN Resturant, NYC
May 2014 Meditation, Scalpels & Shotguns – Ivy Brown Gallery, NYC
October 2012 Cut Work Metal – Salomon Arts Gallery, NYC
November 2011 Double Cut – Sacred Gallery, NYC
January 2010 Cut Work 2010 – Salomon Arts Gallery, NYC
February 2009 Cut Work – Ivy Brown Gallery, NYC
January 2008 Nature As Architect – Ivy Brown Gallery, NYC
January 2018 Beyond Black & White – Westbeth Gallery, NYC
January 2018 LA Art Show – Liss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
January 2018 Palm Beach Modern & Contemporary Fair – C Fine Art, West Palm Beach, FL
November 2017 Edge Exhibition – Novado Gallery, Jersey City, NJ
July 2017 Gardens On Orchard – Leslie Heller Workspace, NYC
March 2017 Spring Break Art Show – NYC
January 2017 Winter Invitational Exhibit – Atrium Gallery, Morris Town, NJ
October 2015 Restless Edge – Ivy Brown Gallery, NYC
May 2015 Metamorphic Abstraction – One Art Space Gallery, NYC
March 2013 ARMORY WEEK – Salomon Arts Gallery, NYC
October 2013 Parsons School of Design Alumi Show, NYC
May 2013 TRIBECA TOAST Group Show – Salomon Arts Gallery, NYC
March 2012 ARMORY WEEK – Salomon Arts Gallery, NYC
April 2011 TRIBECA TOAST Group Show – Salomon Arts Gallery, NYC
December 2010 ART BARTER Group Show – NP Contemporary Arts Center, NYC
Artist Profile: Elizabeth Gregory Gruen
Who or what were your earliest artistic influences?
My Mother and Grandmother raised me – both are painters.They were my first introduction into visual thinking. The environment was ripe for experimentation and visual adventures that sparked my curiosity. With full encouragement my perception of space and proportion began at this time. Through careful critique, ideas were exchanged and a visual communication began. It became my language for life
How have those influences carried through to your work today?
The visual language experienced as a child continually propels my curiosity and inspires me to push open my mind. It is a search for the ultimate high. Creating spontaneous free hand cut work is the best of both worlds for me. I use my meditative concentration combined with the knowledge of absolute freedom to follow my subconscious and create what appears as tightly controlled and planned work. I enjoy the irony.
You grew up in Chicago, then later moved to New York City – how have these different urban landscapes affected the work you create?
The landscape of Chicago always intrigued me. The light reflected from the lake gives the cityscape a unique personality you can feel. The skies are big – plenty of space for imagination. New York is an emotion. The energy seeping from every cornerstone, every façade… all the way to the sky is intoxicating. The feeling is a black + white movie shot in the rain with glistening buildings.The cityscape is everything and everyone. It is the ultimate inspiration.
Would you say your pieces are driven by form or content? Does the work develop from an idea/seek to express an idea, or is it about formal aspects, like shape/color etc.?
My work does not seek to find a specific end. I create these images from my subconscious, free from the constraints of preconceived conclusion; to open the mind to contemplation and examination. I create to inspire the imagination.
I deconstruct work with a shotgun to open the mind to addressing violence and elegance simultaneously.
In your most recent series “CUT – WORK” and “SHOTGUN” – freehand cut paper using surgical blades and shotgun blasts – is this a key part of the creative process; using unorthodox methods and medium?
The tools involved in creating the CUT WORK and SHOTGUN images are my evolutionary process using experimentation. On one level, I enjoy the fact that the sharp knife I use is called “surgical scalpel”. This implies that the paper could be human skin. The cuts are the layers that occur in a life. The shadow and their vibrations are the moments that pass in each living second. The SHOTGUN appears to damage that life – but, instead it overcomes the presumed damage and is a new image … a new idea. If you did not know these tools were used to make the pieces they would appear only mysterious, just as humanity is.
What inspired you to incorporate color as seen in the bi-color and tri-color cut piece combinations?
Color is crucial part of the human experience. Color effects us emotionally, brings joy, sadness and contemplation… I began infusing with neutral shades… to create a soothing visual sensation
warm and inviting … The volume was pumped up with the introduction of pure cadmium red and an intense cobalt blue coupled with stark white to blast out from the confines of the wall. To me this is a natural progression needed to delve further into the human psyche.
What is the “MIRROR” series?
I introduced this concept in the CUT WORK 2010 exhibition. The premise is simple; the cut pieces that make the reverse relief used in the CUT WORK series are rebuilt to create a relief. Creating a “Mirror” effect not only in imagery but in shape as well. Just as if you are looking into your mirror you see more than just a pure reflection – there are many layers in one reflection.
How do you think American culture and landscape is conveyed through your work?
The CUT WORK series is evolution, imagination, freedom and discovery.
This is very essence of the human experience.
From AWANTEDMAG.COM interview with Daniel Alonso