Liz Sweibel
Statement | 2019

My work is an exploration of liminal spaces, points of contact, and unseen forces:  wind, history, values, math, gravity, protein, emotion, memory.  I make drawings, sculpture, and installations that are spare and abstract, using specific yet ordinary materials and gestures.  I salvage materials and forms from my older work and use it to establish value and identity in the present.  My studio process is low-tech, immediate, and improvisational.

My father regularly traveled to Japan on business when I was about six, and the country and culture have always been in my consciousness.  I have a little kimono, shoes, and socks that he brought home for me.  I traveled to Japan in the summer of 2017, where the portrait below was taken.  The impact of the trip has been enormous, and continues to unfold.

I grew up on islands and boats.  As a kid I would ride my bike down to the dock with my fishing rod, hang my feet over the edge, and pretend to fish.  I had no bait and no interest in catching anything.  I just wanted to be alone and seem occupied.

I am a good sailor, but weather could unnerve me.  The pounding.  Once our boom broke clean in half before they called the race off.  Another time we were heading out Government Cut under power against heavy seas, and a fenderboard went overboard; it was tied to the stanchions and the waves slammed it against the hull again and again.  When we ran aground in the Great Peconic Bay almost 50 years ago, the following sea broke our sailing dinghy off its davits.  My family - my parents and three younger brothers and Scruffy the dog - was happy on the boat.  The water has always seemed to me the most comforting and dangerous of places.

Liz Sweibel