"More Grit, More Pearl"
Iron Horses are the expression of urban meets rural in the American West. Montana's traditional working ranches and the graffiti-embellished freight trains that pass through the remote Missouri River valley of Liz Chappie Zoller's home inspire her unique art. Liz's purpose in creating this art is to further explore the rich intersections of art, life and culture, and the overlapping edges of our diverse cultures.
By combining images of traditional working ranch and rodeo horses with graffiti design/color palettes she collects while "benching" (train-watching), these diverse forms of beauty, power and strength are explored within two completely different cultures. "Graf writers" (graffiti artists) and working ranch and rodeo horses all possess laser-sharp focus alongside a fierce and fearless dedication to their respective tasks; they challenge our assumptions of what constitutes traditional feminine beauty and masculine strength into new definitions of feminine strength and masculine beauty.
The results have been lively conversations about why we're more alike than different, and how staying curious and challenging our assumptions keeps us open to surprising new views.
Sweetpea Festival Artist Spotlight, October 2018
Liz had to drive over 10 miles from her studio near Three Forks to reach a place where her cell phone would take the call.
She describes her art as Montana with a city twist, something that helps urban and rural find common ground, strength and beauty on one canvas. In the first grade, she got in trouble for drawing horses for classmates - her first “commissions.”
When the call to pursue art as a career became too strong to ignore, she was determined to find her signature style before she plunged in headlong. In her own words, “I want to paint horses, but I don’t want to just be another woman painting horses in Montana.” One afternoon, while considering this exact question, a train covered in visually stunning graffiti passed by, and her question was replaced with a purpose - to unite her love of horses with the often under appreciated aesthetic of graffiti.
In her own words, “Graffiti is counter culture to ranch life, but there are so may parallels.” Respect for skill, and the passing down of traditions run through the heart both cultures. Now she spends her days applying the graffiti lens to her own work.
The traditions, skills, and comprehensive planning that goes into graffiti may be surprising to an outsider, but to Liz, the comradeship among artists is something which allows her to reach out to the most unlikely of places. She documents her favorite graffiti on her Instagram (@pearl_snap_studio) and occasionally interacts with the original artists by means of digital tags instead of painted ones.
“Art is a shared language,” and Liz is living proof of exactly how many barriers that language can cross.
Iron Horse | BLUE | 24" x 36" | Oil on Canvas
Parsing Sign and Image Juried Exhibition
Art League Rhode Island
The VETS Gallery, One Avenue of the Arts
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Event Dates: 9/14/18 - 12/1/18
In this exhibition, the work submitted was to be based on the theme of parsing, sign and image. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes the definition of parsing as “to divide (a sentence) into grammatical parts and identify the parts and their relations to each other.” A sign is described as “a motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known or a fundamental linguistic unit that designates an object or relation or has a purely syntactic function.”
A general approach to jurying a contemporary art exhibition without a theme is to base the art on the quality of work, traditional or contemporary technique, creativity, its relation to the human condition as well as internal and external influences and objects.
This exhibition was juried based on the framework of a general approach with the parsing, sign and image theme as the criteria. The selected work reflects text, symbols, language, phrases and more with visual imagery that communicates the human condition.
When viewing the resulting exhibition, the work in the show reveals a pattern of our internal restless headspace of words and symbols, our daily personal interactions of beauty, color, balance and darkness all trapped within our present society in a state of propaganda, entertainment, dualism, confusion, insecurity and upside-down decay.
Kaveh Mojtabai, Juror
About the Juror: Kaveh Mojtabai is the founder and publisher of Artscope Magazine, a media company that is dedicated to reviewing art exhibits, covering cultural events, connecting artists with their audience and creating access to the arts. Kaveh manages a team of editors, writers, graphic designers, web developers, technology experts and advertising account executives to publish Artscope in its print, email, online, social media, mobile and digital edition formats to the industry and the public. In addition to his work in media industry, Kaveh has worked on projects like co-curating the “A Politic” exhibit that showcased the Abraham Obama billboard and recently juried at the Copley Society and Galatea Fine Arts in Boston. Also, Kaveh has appeared on various “Money Matters” and entrepreneurial business radio networks where he explained how Artscope’s business model supports connections between artists, collectors and the public. Previously, Kaveh worked internationally with Fortune 500 clients at a “Big Four” global consulting firm to develop client performance through strategic, operational and financial processes. He has graduated with two degrees, a B.A. in Astrophysics and B.S.B.A in Business Administration. His previous work included astronomy research at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics under the direction of a Nobel Astrophysics Prize winner.
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