Liz McGowan sees herself as being in conversation with natural and found materials, creating sculptural responses to the natural environment. Her focus is the meeting point of inner and outer landscapes, where personal creativity is given inspiration and form by the fine structures of those elements – stone, reed, leaf, earth – that combine to form a landscape.
Liz collects and sorts these elements using them to make sculptures, installations and drawings both in the landscape and in a gallery setting. She also works with those processes that shape and transform the landscape – snow, wind and water. Her personal concerns in this work are about containment and expansion, about the cycles of growth, change and decay, and about the shifting relationship between us and the world in which we are immersed.
Here are some examples of her Will-A-Wix series on sale at Houghton Hall this summer as well as the Wave-mechanic drawings that came about during her collaborative work with Margie Britz.
Will-a-wix is a local name for a barn owl and this is a body of work inspired by them. They are made using the bones from owl pellets, which owls regurgitate as a way of getting rid of all the indigestible parts of the creatures that they eat – mice, voles, shrews, rats, beetles, worms etc. The delicate bones are impressed into the paper and then graphite is used to bring them out. The patterns recall eye, penumbra, moon, egg.
This work had its roots in a walk in stages around the coast of Norfolk. We generally walked the low tide line, and we talked, took photographs, and collected bits and pieces that caught our eye. This was when we first noticed and talked about starfish, and Margie was reminded of the ceiling of the mausoleum of Galla Placidia. As a result of this we decided to make a starfish installation at Salthouse Church as part of Light and Space, taking starfish from the sea bottom and transforming them into a celestial body.
Photographs of works in Salthouse Church by Eric Smee
The print we have for sale at Houghton Hall is an echo of this piece in that it is composed using starfish as the printing tool in ink.
We are thrilled to be exhibiting and selling these original drawings made in collaboration with Margie Britz, using seaweed as the drawing tool.