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Liz Lee

SUNY Fredonia
New York, USA
elizabeth.lee@fredonia.edu
Screw
18" x 24"

Artist Statement: The politics of representation and description of objects and images always exist within a cultural framework. The politics of representation presumes that relations of power are operative both in the act of representing and in the relations that govern the production and reception of cultural artifacts. This action precludes any notion of autonomous meaning and focuses attention on the generation of meaning as it operates to affirm, contest, or subvert dominant ideological formations. Images, therefore, even of ordinary objects, cannot be viewed only through appearance or use, but through cultural, historical, and political analysis.

"Abstract Paintings" addresses the use of identifying language and symbolic representation. The series of objects I chose to represent are common tools. In the series, I intend to question the relationship between the word and the thing, and our cultural interpretation of symbols and codes. I chose tools because of their significance in evolutionary science. Tools, for primitive man, according to Pete Hamill in his introductory essay to Tools as Art: The Hechinger Collection, were an extension of the hand and the mind. Tools take on even more significance when analyzed through the advancement of other technologies, as Hamill continues:

"Before designing his tools, Primitive Man must have imagined their use... Form, as usual, followed function... As Homo Erectus gave way to Homo Sapiens [and] language began to evolve into a more refined instrument of expression... while Primitive Man was inventing tools and language, he was also creating art... Prestige technology includes the most prestigious of all human activities: the making of art."

"Abstract Paintings" investigates ordinary codes of identification. The image of a tool represents its use, but the accompanying text subverts the objective and reveals the subjective. The use of the tool is transformed. The series becomes a comment on form, function, language, technology, and art.
Scissors
18" x 24"

Needle
18" x 24"

Plug
18" x 24"