Liz Ward (Artist-in-Residence, 2019)

From the Artist

"I visited Isle Royale many years ago, and have longed to return ever since. And although I spend part of most summers in Michigan, I yearn for the immersive experience of living and working in a simple cabin on Isle Royale – to “live deliberately” as Thoreau described it – apart from the distractions of society and modernity. And more specifically, Isle Royale would be particularly inspiring for my current work which explores landscape through layers of human and natural history, memory, and experience. For example, my ongoing series of mixed-media works on paper, "Veritas Caput, The Upper Mississippi Project", concerns the search for the source of the Mississippi River – a quest that entailed the crossing of Lake Superior in 1832 by the Schoolcraft Expedition. At Isle Royale, I would be able to engage more deeply with this subject matter through observational drawing and by working in a wilderness landscape much like the one traversed by Henry Schoolcraft and his crew.

In addition to my engagement with this historically driven work, I have had a longstanding interest in trees and forest ecosystems. I first developed imagery based on the growth rings of trees in the 1990s, in paintings, drawings and prints. More recently I created a series of silverpoint drawings for a book project, "Unchopping a Tree", with the renowned American poet W.S. Merwin.

For many years my artistic practice has been sustained, informed, and inspired by my experiences in nature. I have incorporated this ethos into my teaching; every spring I teach Outdoor Studio, a course I developed in which students of various levels of artistic experience create works of art on site in natural areas. The benefit to these students in learning and creating outdoors in nature is undeniable and palpable. Both their experiences and my own continually reinforce my belief in the inherent, restorative power forged through interconnections of art and nature."

- Liz Ward, 2019

You can view Liz's work on her personal webpage.

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Last updated: December 17, 2019

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