Written by Marisa LaBello | Photo by Craig Schreiner
The metalwork of UW-Whitewater student Liz Christianson is now on display at the Viridian Artists Gallery in New York City.
Christianson, an art major from Marshfield, Wisconsin, was selected to have her piece, "Tension of Two," included in the gallery's "30 under 30" exhibition, which honors the work of 30 artists under 30 years old, out of hundreds of entrants worldwide.
The exhibition runs through March 11.
Viridian Artists Inc., located in the Chelsea region of Manhattan, is widely regarded as an exceptional showcase for both emerging and established artists who meet the highest aesthetic standards.
This was Christianson's first time receiving a congratulatory email for selection after multiple entry attempts. Never feeling discouraged, Christianson sees every show she applies to as an opportunity for exposure.
"I never imagined to be chosen out of applicants from all over the world," she said. "It still doesn't feel real to me."
Prior to college, Christianson explored an array of artistic talents throughout high school, unsure of where her abilities would lead her.
In spring 2014, Christianson joined UW-Whitewater's metals organization, Alloy, and declared an emphasis in metals after taking an introductory course with associate professor and head of the metals program, Teresa Faris.
"Teresa pushed and encouraged me to dive deep and pursue the program," said Christianson. "I slowly fell more and more in love with metals as I learned new techniques."
Christianson said her art centers around her need for attachment, giving her pieces a larger and more personal meaning. She puts time into researching psychology to explore those needs, which inspires her with new ideas of expression.
"If someone makes a big impact in my life, I want them to stay, so I attach to them."
"Tension of Two" demonstrates that symbolism. Using a combination of copper and brass and stakes, she formed the pieces into vessel and dome shapes. Experimentation with high polish and hitting techniques helped her find the right pieces to enhance and accentuate. The brass portion has a pin that is to be worn, and the copper is adorned with hooks meant to attach onto someone.
"Tension of Two" is up for sale at the gallery for $1,250, a price configured through amount of time and money put into the piece. It will be displayed in a book with other chosen artists, along with Christianson's resume.
This exposure offers her the chance of being contacted for commission requests or for her work to be displayed in museums.
Faris said seeing Christianson grow and find her authentic voice is a major part of what drives her interest in teaching. She sees this high-level exhibition selection as an exceptional opportunity for Christianson to continually exhibit her work to support a lifelong pursuit.
"Liz is a hardworking student who is dedicated to finding her place in the world, specifically the art world," said Faris. "Each day she shows more interest and curiosity."
Christianson plans to further her artistic skill in all aspects before graduating in December 2017. She is confident in her ability with support from faculty, along with her mother and sister.
A future career goal involves using her passion for creating jewelry with silver. She plans to continue pursuing her love for painting and is eager to create more abstract metal pieces using materials from "Tension of Two."
"This is a starting point," she said. "There's more to come."
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