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Elizabeth Turk: Wings
The Dayton Art Institute organized an exhibition of contemporary marble sculptor Elizabeth Turk’s work. Shown in conjunction with Object of Devotion, an extraordinary group of 60 hand-carved alabaster sculptures from the Victoria and Albert Museum, the pair of exhibitions provided a provocative point of departure to explore the theme of devotion in a sacred and secular context.
Turk’s larger-than-life-size fragments of marble wings and carved marble feathers relate to the platonic ideas of the soul shedding its wings and descending to earth to take on an earthly body, with no way of reentering the heavens from which it came. Conceived on the eve of the year 2000, this body of work speaks to the idea of the displacement of the soul, questioning of belief, and uncertainty about the future; challenging questions that are still being posed today. More than simply a physical connection to the medium of sculpture, Turk’s work is an idea, a feeling, and an emotion that will make people think deeply about the idea of devotion and our place within the universe. The somewhat fragmentary appearance of the wings, and their placement on the floor as opposed to a platform or pedestal, drives this connection further and makes for a provocative ending to a show featuring some of the finest examples of medieval devotional alabasters in the world.
Elizabeth Turk has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the country. She received numerous fellowships and grants, including a research fellowship from the Smithsonian and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, as well as several prestigious artist-in-residence awards including a Pilchuck residency in Seattle, Washington, a Kyojima residency in Tokyo, Japan, a California State Fullerton residency, and the John Michael Kohler Arts & Industry Program. Her work is found in the collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the Mint Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Weatherspoon Gallery at the University of North Carolina, among others.
This exhibition was made possible with support from an anonymous donor and The DP&L Foundation..