Q&A with artist Erika Lizee / by Dani Dodge

Erika Lizée with her work, I nfinite Love/Flesh and Blood, at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History.

Erika Lizée with her work, Infinite Love/Flesh and Blood, at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History.

Erika Lizée has created a site-specific installation at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, a short distance from the Prime Desert Woodland Preserve. Her work mirrors the beauty and symmetry I find at the Preserve, so I wanted to talk to her about the ideas behind her art.

Titled Infinite Love/Flesh and Blood, the sculptural acrylic painting spans three floors in the MOAH front entrance and seems to jump off the wall as if to embrace the viewer. It creates a magically biomorphic vision, which is at the same time strange yet familiar.

The stunning work is currently on view at MOAH as part of L.A. Painting through Oct. 20, 2019. The exhibition also includes Five Year Survey curated by Cooper Johnson, a solo show by David Allan Peters, Laura Hipke and painter Shane Guffogg’s curatorial project Circle of Truth, a solo show by Kaye Freeman in collaboration with Amy Kaps called The Anatomy of a Painting, and selections from the museum’s permanent collection.

So, I asked Erika:

Q: How does your art in the current show at MOAH relate to nature?

Lizée, _Infinite Love_Flesh and Blood_, image 2.jpg

 A: Three years ago, I began studying the numbers one through 10 as well as sacred geometry with the aim of exploring the interconnectedness of the world we live in through numbers and shapes. My installation for MOAH is inspired by the number 8 and visually references the clematis flower, oxygen (the eighth element on the periodic table), the eight notes in an octave, and the symbol of the infinite. 

Q: What do you find interesting about nature as an artist?

 A:   I spent my childhood in the woods and lakes of Northern Wisconsin, so I have always felt a strong connection to nature.  Artistically, nature is an infinite source of inspiration.  I am drawn to the complex range of beautiful forms, colors and textures. 

 Q: Is there a place you go to enjoy nature? 

 A:  I live in the canyons northwest of Los Angeles with my husband and two kids.  Typically we go hiking in the hills up behind our house.  It is so wonderful to be able to walk out our front door and explore the rocks and trails (and admire the views!) in our community.

 Q: What is your artistic background?

 A:  I have a BFA in Painting from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and an MFA in Painting from CSU Northridge.  Over the past 20 years, my artwork has transitioned from oil paintings, to graphite drawings, to acrylic paintings and now large-scale illusion-based installations.

Q: What is next for you?

A: 2019 was a very busy year for me. In March, I installed my first permanent installation inside the YMCA in Westlake Village, and then in August, I installed this large-scale installation inside MOAH. Right now, I'm taking a breath; spending time researching and working on design ideas for the next project. I am the Visual Arts Department Chair and Art Gallery Director at Moorpark College, and have been teaching a Watercolor class this fall for the first time, which has been great fun.

Lizée, _Infinite Love_Flesh and Blood_ detail, image 1.jpg