Liz Ensz

Liz Ensz was born in Minnesota, 1983, to a resourceful family of penny-savers, metal scrappers, and curators of cast-offs. She received her BFA in Fiber from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN; Spaces, Cleveland, OH; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA; Goucher College, Baltimore, MD. Ensz has been awarded The Baltimore Creative Fund Grant, The Gilroy Roberts Scholarship for Engraving, The Edes Fellowship Semi-finalist Prize, and The Gelman Travel Fellowship.

My imagery, objects, and interventions examine brazen icons of the American character, such as the Jeep Cherokee, the eagle, gold nuggets, shopping carts, freeways, sublime landscapes and landfills in search of our underlying notions of freedom and our aspirations as individuals and as a society.  Our country’s flag and currency attest to its greatness, but ultimately, our material footprint will outlive the self-designed emblems of our political and moral ideals, and stand as our lasting cultural monument to behold in the embers of an existential sunset.

The output of this research reveals a conflicted sense of pride and resentment that merges conspiracy theory and anthropological inquiry- a means by which an American identity may be mythologized, constructed, and forecasted. Strategies of design, craft, art, and artifact inform my process of bricolage. At the heart of my practice lies a determined material engagement, scavenger impulse, and a sincere hope for the rethinking of disposability and permanence in regards to the valuation of resources, the environment, and living things.