Extra Credit – Visiting Artist Review of Claire Zitzow by Elizabeth David

Claire Zitzow

I attended a visiting artist lecture featuring Claire Zitzow. I am currently in her Sculpture 2 class so I was curious and excited to finally learn more about her art. She began the lecture by explaining a specific interest involving the ecological disaster of the salten sea. After taking a trip there to see the degradation, she returned with photographs of what the locals have done to adapt. They created functional “art” with so many found objects. Each wall or other functional structure that was made out of a collection of items could truly be called art, and it was interesting to see how they could transform these random objects.

Her next body of work that she talked about was another sort of collection. I think this idea could have been inspired by driftwood, and just the idea of finding random objects. She took on the role of furniture maker out of found pieces, but she made the new furniture useless. It was kind of a reclamation of the left behind pieces of furniture for a different purpose. It was interesting how this contrasted with the usefulness and utilitarian ways of collecting that the locals employed by the salten sea.

My favorite work by far was her work with shelters. Her earlier expressed interest in scientific inspiration followed through. The idea of the modern ruin – possibly stemming from this idea about the possibility of destruction – is important in this work. She went out into the desert and constructed a thin metal frame, the size of a medium sized room; 10 x 12 x 8 ft.  The walls, however, are made of paper, and the sculpture has a truly ephemeral beauty. This “modern ruin” is a place of reflection, Zitzow said, and it is also possibly reflective of a tombstone; of marking history. The background of this structure and other photographs in her collection are of sordid, abandoned places  and it really increases the mood and concept of her works. Her art was really enjoyable to experience as her thought process was unique and led to interesting pieces.

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