Elizabeth Leader

Who Will Build the City Up Each Time?, 2012

Artist Statement

In our hunger to accumulate more and more, we humans create mountains of material goods. We use them up and cast them away quickly, leaving a trail behind us. On an individual level this trail takes the form of trash left out on the curb, tossed along roads or dumped into waterways. On a larger scale, we leave behind brownfields, shuttered factories, desolate neighborhoods and polluted waters. This trail reveals our history and our constantly developing technology. It also reveals what we care about and what we consider disposable.

I often go ‘urban exploring’, seeking out spaces that have been exploited and abandoned. I take photographs and sometimes bring back pieces of debris that compel my attention. All of this material triggers ideas and images that I explore through a wide variety of materials.

TROUBLED WATERS is a series of large mixed media drawings that grew out of my concern for what we are doing to our waterways and oceans.

The TOYOLOGY series was triggered by the surprise of finding toys dumped, along with other trash, in and around abandoned sites. I have combined found toys with photography, paint and recycled wood to create little dioramas of our decayed urban landscape to intrigue the viewer and trigger a desire to turn around and examine what's been left behind.

The RUST BELT pieces were inspired by the devastation I have seen through out the post-industrial cities around the Great Lakes.

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