Elizabeth King

Elizabeth King

Fellow: Awarded 2002
Field of Study: Film

Competition: US & Canada

Virginia Commonwealth University

Elizabeth King combines precisely movable figurative sculptures with stop-frame animation in works that blur the perceptual boundary between actual and virtual object. Intimate in scale—a theater for an audience of one—and made to solicit close looking, the work reflects her interests in early clockwork automata, the history of the mannequin and the puppet, and literature’s host of legends in which the artificial figure comes to life.

Her work is represented by Danese Gallery in New York, and is in permanent collections nationwide including the Hirshhorn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hood Museum of Dartmouth, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In addition to her Guggenheim Fellowship, awards for her work include a 2006 Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a 1996-97 Fellowship in the Visual Arts at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, now the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard University. She was Artist-in-Residence at Dartmouth College in the spring of 2008.

A mid-career retrospective of her work entitled The Sizes of Things in the Mind’s Eye, curated by Ashley Kistler, opened in late 2007 at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond in Virginia, and then traveled to Dartmouth College, the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, and the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia. The exhibition catalog includes essays by Nancy Princenthal, Amy Hauft, and Ashley Kistler.

Her book, Attention’s Loop (A Sculptor’s Reverie on the Coexistence of Substance and Spirit) was published by Harry Abrams in 1999. She is currently finishing a second book, written with co-author W. David Todd of the Smithsonian Institution: a study of a Renaissance automaton in the Smithsonian collection and the legend behind it, entitled A Machine, a Ghost, and a Prayer: The Story of a Sixteenth-Century Mechanical Monk. The monk is the subject of a shorter essay, “Perpetual Devotion: A Sixteenth-Century Machine That Prays,” included in the 2007 volume Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life edited by Jessica Riskin (University of Chicago Press).

Ms. King received B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute. Since 1985 she has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Sculpture and Extended Media.


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