The Dreamer Embodied: Elizabeth Corkery

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Drawn to a tedious and time consuming process, Elizabeth Corkery uses screenprinting to dream up some truly beautiful and creative artwork. Everything about her graphic pieces draws us in, and they’re now available for our purchase through Print Club Boston. Elizabeth’s passion for art is evident through her images of garden trellis’ and ornamental prints, and definitely inspire the dreamer in us all.

Darling Magazine: When did you begin to silkscreen prints? Elizabeth: I began making screenprints as an undergraduate while I was studying at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney. I was a printmaking major, so I had an introduction to all forms of prints, but it was really screenprint that excited me. I’m certain that it’s the potential for large fields of color and really graphic imagery that drew me to it.

DM: What is it like working at Print Club Boston and creating affordable and limited edition silkscreen prints? Elizabeth: It’s a huge thrill to be able to work at what I love every day. Print is strongly connected to ideas of accessibility and affordability, and these were always high priorities for me when I started Print Club. While this is certainly a more commercial endeavor than my own personal practice, it was always important that I still explore ideas and concerns that interest me. The larger editions and smaller scale of the work I produce through Print Club means I can price pieces in a manner that makes them more widely accessible and sends them to many new homes!

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DM: What was your inspiration for The Grid, The Trellis series? Elizabeth: Initially the inspiration for my first series, The Grid, The Trellis came from the investigations I was making in my graduating MFA thesis exhibition. I was looking at formal gardens, and my final installation explored various historic modes of garden representation and included free-standing green lattice cubes that divided the space and acted as signifiers for the otherwise absent plant life in the gallery. My ambition for The Grid, The Trellis was to see how a tension could be generated between potential pictorial depth and the imposition of the grid through the use of negative space, which was a reminder of the flatness of the printed page.

DM: How different is it for you to go from gallery showings to selling prints for Print Club Boston? Elizabeth: I’m certainly aware that I want to commit an equal amount of energy to my personal practice and my work through Print Club Boston, and actually I’ve begun to see the two as complementary. Print Club Boston was really born out of my desire to reassert a place for screenprint in my daily art practice. As my personal work expanded in scale to involve larger prints and environmental room installations, I was looking to ways I could translate some of my conceptual concerns to smaller, less production-heavy prints that would then be made available online. Giving myself the structure of producing a series of prints at once, it allows me to explore given themes in diverse ways across the various pieces, as opposed to having to say something singular or definitive in one single work.

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DM: What kind of benefits did you get from going to college as a fine art major and then receiving your Masters of Fine Art?

Elizabeth: First and foremost my undergraduate studies were crucial in establishing a printmaking skill set. All forms of print are incredibly process heavy and at time you have to work in reverse – envisaging the finished product and then working backwards to figure out how you’re technically going to bring it to life. It’s often said that über-organized, list-making perfectionists really make the best printmakers, and that’s probably true. So having a work ethic and technique instilled early on during my undergraduate studies was a huge asset to my practice. I took two years between degrees, during which time I moved to New York and worked in advertising while desperately trying to keep up an art practice in my non-existent downtime. It didn’t take long before I really wanted space and time to commit my energies fully to my work again, and that prompted the decision to do a master’s degree. What I learned from doing my MFA was how to constantly be working – thinking, walking, reading, seeing a movie – all may seem like unrelated activities but my work is constantly on my mind and I’m always considering new modes of presentation or approaches to topics that interest me. DM: How did studying abroad affect your artwork? Elizabeth: I did a semester abroad in the US at one of the most giant state universities in the country. My time at COFA had shown me what it was like to be in an art school in a large, cosmopolitan city and I wanted to completely contrast that to being in an art department in a large university in small-town America. It was kind of fun to immediately be one of the “weird art kids” heading to the studio on a Saturday morning while everyone else was either wandering back to their dorms or heading to the football game. The studios were open 24/7, which is not the case in large city schools, so it really solidified a strong work ethic for me and I began spending all my spare time in the studio. I also met a great group of MFA students through a Women in Contemporary Art course I took, and looking back I think their work and approach probably set the wheels in motion for me considering an MFA also.

Win a print of your choice from Elizabeth’s collection! See below for ways to enter. 

Contest open until July 10th!

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Images via Print Club Boston

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