Skip to main content
Mixed Media

Elizabeth Fairleigh

Elizabeth is a fine artist who transcends the monogamy of mediums to best represent her concepts. She has a BA in painting (Rhode Island School of Design 2016) but has investigated modes of expression through video, installation, performance, and mixed media art. While her art is activated through self-analysing her disturbing interconnected relationships to her body, sex and men, Elizabeth dilutes the uneasiness of her lived experiences under layers of playfulness. This allows for Elizabeth's work to become more approachable while still holding air of discomfort and humour. The viewer is permitted to become a participant of the work, relating to the subtle associative awkwardness and tension that mimics the emotive characteristics used in coping with her own trauma. Without telling her story, Elizabeth can connect with the viewer through universal emotions that live beneath the layers of our life that keep us moving forward.. the ironies of life.

“The whole point of being an artist is to learn about yourself. The photographs I think are less important than the life one is leading.” – Robert Mapplethorpe

Degree Details

School of Design

Mixed Media

[re-remember] Hush-A-Bye Hard Times

Elizabeth confronts the outdated values and expectations projected on her as a girl growing up in the conservative southern culture of America. She uses Dolly Parton as an icon and motif to redefine her taught worth from being inherently linked to her body as seen through the male gaze to being the personification of who and what she wants to be... When told she should change her physical appearance to be taken seriously, Dolly said, “A rhinestone shines just as good as a diamond.”

Hug-A-Bye Hard Times illustrates this through the deconstruction and reconstruction of Elizabeth’s earliest childhood memories of body dysmorphia and shame surrounding her physical appearance, from as young as 7 years old. She does this through the medium of collage created by the accumulation of empowering symbols of self. By detaching her physical appearance from her self-worth, further de-sexualizing her relationship to her body and gender, these collages clear stigma surrounding bodily reproach and facilitate a safe space to explore self touch and pleasure.Through imagining a re-remembered foundation of unconditional self-love, Elizabeth's collages become portals to parallel universes that celebrate the sanctity of the female spirit.

For example, by putting herself in the context of the Vitruvian Man, which is said to be the mathematical representation of the perfected male form, she in turn pays tribute to her body through the celebration of its own perfection.