- Glazed ceramic
- 7" x 5"
"This mask is part of a series of masks made in 2022-2023 where I depict the face, eyes, nose, and mouth in a geometric language. This piece specifically alludes to the face of a clock and the passing of time."
- Elisa Soliven
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New York-based sculptor Elisa Soliven investigates the ways in which the human form can act as a vehicle for formal and material transformations. Working primarily in clay, Soliven playfully combines the ancient process of ceramics to build heavily tactile, often abstracted contemporary portraits either pulling from memory or having friends sit for her. She then layers and manipulates the surface until a likeness becomes entirely abstracted, sometimes leaving the human form only recognizable through subtle suggestions of limbs. Looking to ancient structures and formal qualities, Soliven imbues her sculptural portraits with talismanic qualities.
Drawn to clay for its flexibility in making, ability to record touch, and level of durability, Soliven often incorporates found materials, including remnants from previous sculptures to create levels of visible history. The added irregular pieces of fired clay place the viewer in the role of an archeologist encountering elements from many time periods the deeper they peer. In all her work, Soliven looks to the frozen mark-making of ceramics as a mode of totem-making, both as symbols of connection and markers of time.