Elizabeth Ostrander

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“Art is a conversation between spirit, nature, and imagination - visions of what I feel inside of myself.”
     My sculptures are figurative. From early childhood until my late teens I studied ballet and experienced the human body’s capacity for deep, showy, emotional expression. Today, I often will pose my own body in the position and attitude that I want to sculpt so that I can feel it in my own body before I start sculpting. The poetical and often the fantastical aesthetics of classical ballet that I so loved in my youth, nowadays still contributes to my sense of what I find beautiful.
     Nature, my garden in Eastport, Maine with its messages of life and renewal give me spiritual inspiration - initiating themes I continue to revisit, like soulful transformation, metamorphosis, and regeneration. I am also deeply influenced by the inspiration that comes from my sense of the mystical, the mythical, and own female experience.
     Imagery, although mostly of women, is also of Green Men and Woodland
Fauns - the nurturing, to me, aspects of masculinity. Female imagery is a place to explore my own female identity and can take various forms in my sculptures: from meditative, to nurturer, to having antlers on her head or birds attached to the flying ends of her hair.

     Two women artists associated with Surrealism, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo’s are increasingly influencing my own work. Both artists redefined female symbolism and imagery. I find their work provocative, vibrating with magic energy.
     A very early but still a very profound influence for me was the work of the painter and sculptor, Amedeo Modigliani. He is known for elongating faces and revealing his sitters inner emotional life. His work is easily recognizable once you have seen it. Many have told me that my faces too are also very recognizable. My son explains to me that my faces all come from the same “tribe” and so are easy to spot.
     My primary medium for sculpture is fired ceramic with acrylic. I usually paint them as if they were painting canvas. This allows me to layer the painted surface, blending colors and giving me nuances that I could not achieve with traditional ceramic glazes. Sometimes I even add collage and found objects. Occasionally, inspired by a particular found object, I model in clay a figure to add, based on that piece. And what I find interesting, is that when that found piece is a natural substance such as driftwood the figure is gentle and serene but when it is metal, usually a beach find cast-away, there is angst. I believe it is from the love/hate motif I find with most human inventions.
     My formal art training began by studying sculpture with Jose DeCreeft at The Art Students League of New York in the 60’s; after that I attended The Cooper Union School of Art & Architecture. Later I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
     Moving from New York City more than forty years ago to my rural life
in coastal Maine, I am grateful for the continuing, unfolding adventure
pursuing my work as an artist.

109 Water St. Eastport, ME 04631


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