Elizabeth Nurenberg

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What Is My Work About? 

My work is about the need for actual human connections and the creation of art as a multi-sensory experience. I am interested in the awkwardness of our bodies and our perceptual abilities. Being physically close to someone else activates our consciousness and allows us to move through waves of comfort and discomfort. Our awareness of our present environment may be heightened or vanish completely. This work is built around themes of intimacy and proximity.In a generation of technology and virtual relationships, we need to reconnect to our physical presence. By experiencing much of our lives through digital screens, we deny our bodies as powerful sensory receptors and information collectors. My sculptures are props for interaction meant to entice participants into an experience that activates the senses and moves beyond the imagined into a real-time shared moment.


Artist Statement

Modern technology such as cell phones, email, and social media create an isolation tank in which people can exist without needing to physically occupy the same space. I am interested in art that counteracts this isolation; art that enlists the full body and appeals to multiple senses while exploring intimacy, awkwardness and personal space. As an object maker, I create props for physical interactions. These props act as bridges to connect people through proximity and shared moments.

Using fabric, upholstery foam and polyfill, I create soft sculptures that participants use or inhabit, allowing the body, or multiple bodies, to become a component of the sculptural outcome. The viewer decides their own level of participation under a set of circumstances. One can experience an actual physical interaction or have an imagined interaction. I take design inspiration from things we have contact with in our everyday lives, such as fashion, furniture, and apparatus. Sound, when present, has an ambient quality. It is layered in a way that requires one to choose what they will listen to; typically this serves to extend the length of time a participants interacts with the work.

The effect of the experience varies based on the level of intimacy that exists between participants. Context is also fundamental. My sculptures create social spaces that allow participants to move in waves of comfort and discomfort, situations where they are made aware of their bodies and their proximity to others. These spaces allow us to be fully conscious in a moment, a moment where sculpture is the platform that allows us to engage with one another.



Born 1978

2010  Master of Fine Art, Studio Art, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
2003  Bachelor of Fine Arts, Art and Design Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI

Solo Exhibitions
2012 “Affect,” sponsored by FAR: Autonomie, Los Angeles, CA
2010 “[Touch],“ MFA Thesis Show, East Gallery, Claremont, CA 2008 Solo show, South Western Michigan College, Dowagiac, MI

Group Exhibitions
“Superficial LAndscapes,” North Gallery, Cerritos College, Norwalk, CA
“Potential Bodies,” The Space @ Otis Grad Studios, Los Angeles, CA “Surface Tensions,” Craftswoman House Temporary Residency, ILGWU, Long Beach, CA
Artist Muse, Minotti, Los Angeles, CA

“Blindsided Threesome Plus One,” curated by David Pagel, Claremont Graduate, Claremont, CA
“Hostile Hospitality,” Highland House, Upland CA
Articulate Exhibitions, Publication
“The Femail Project,” The ARTicle Gallery, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK
“14@<40,” Frank M. Doyle Pavilion, Orange Coast College, CA “Nothing Heavy,” Packing House, Pomona, CA

“Below the Echo,” 1162 Glendale, Los Angeles, CA “Medicine Chest,” Lux Lighting, Los Angeles, CA
“Leap Year,” curated by David Pagel, Claremont Graduate, Claremont, CA LACE, Benefit Auction, Los Angeles, CA
“Luxuriate Diffuse,” Private Collector Art Event, Los Angeles, CA

“Irrational Exhibits,” Track 16 Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA “Chain Letter,” Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CA ReVisions of LA: Workshop instructor, LACE, Los Angeles, CA “Messy Aspirations,” Riverside Arts Project, Riverside, CA “Voyeuristic Exhibitionism,” Concord Space, Los Angeles, CA

City Hall show, City Hall, Claremont, CA 2nd Year MFA Group Show, Claremont, CA
Claremont MFA, The dA Gallery, Pomona, CA

“The Leak of Contemporary Artists,” The dA, Pomona, CA City Hall show, City Hall, Claremont, CA
“The Red show,” The dA Gallery, Pomona, CA
“Exhibit A,” Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA “Making Out” Installation show, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA

Group show, Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI

Group show, Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI Group show, Third Stone Gallery, Fennville, MI Group show, FWD>>Space, Grand Rapids, MI

Three-person show, Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI “Material Objects” Urban Lights, Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Art Festival, juried exhibition, Grand Rapids, MI “Spooktacula,” artLedge in collaboration with VisionQuest, Chicago, IL Grand Rapids Art Festival, juried exhibition, Grand Rapids, MI Two-person show, Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI
“Flora and Fauna,” Swim Space, Grand Rapids, MI
BFA Exhibition, Grand Valley State University Art Gallery, Allendale, MI Free Radical Division Art Walk, Grand Rapids, MI


Grants and Awards
California Community Foundation Fellowship Award: Emerging Artist Grant

Helen B. Dooley Fellowship, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA Art Student Representative, Claremont Graduate University
Joan Mitchell Award Nominee
ISC Outstanding Student Achievement Nominee

Sam Affendoulis Award, Grand Rapids Art Festival, Grand Rapids, MI 2002 Fellowship scholarship, Ox-bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI


2013 OC Weekly, 14<40, Young at Art, October
2012 Coagula Art Journal, January 2012 2011 Artillery Magazine, Volume 5 Issue 6


Work Experience
2014-Present  Otis College of Art and Design Teaching Associate: Building the Form
2013-Present  Otis College of Art and Design Educational Associate: Connections through Color and Design
2012-Present   California State University Northridge Part Time Faculty: 2-D and 3-D Design
2011-2013  Editorial Assistant to Art Critic, Edward Goldman, Santa Monica, CA Personal Assistant, Administrative Assistant
2010  Pitzer College, Teaching Assistant for Kathryn Miller: Art, Innovation and Exhibition
University of LaVerne, Teaching Assistant for Lawrence McNamara: Figure Drawing
2009  University of LaVerne, Teaching Assistant for Chuck Feesago: 3-D
2004-2009  Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI, Campus Coordinator, Administrative Assistant to the Director, Office Assistant
2000-2004  Lafontsee Galleries/Underground Studio, Grand Rapids, MI Sales associate and custom framing.