Three Walks: St. Thomas / Red Bank / Salton Sea began with Elizabeth Leister’s research into a phenomenon where lost architectural structures and entire communities are being revealed, as waters recede in lakes and reservoirs due to extreme drought conditions. Leister visited three such landscapes, walked these arid terrains, to tran witness and experience each environment. Her three-channel installation and artist’s book are a contemplation on the shifts in nature due to climate change and the impact of these troubling man-made transformations.
Her personal exploration of these places: searching for exposed ruins, witnessing the devastated landscape while enduring debilitating temperatures are the subject of this work. They can be read as a metaphor for what we remember and what we choose to forget, personally and collectively. Handwriting, a disappearing practice, no longer being taught in many schools, figures as a storytelling tool in the work. The physical and psychological experience of walking alone in nature as a woman, an ongoing theme in Leister’s work, also figures prominently.
Animated drawing and hand-writing, as well as video footage from these sites comprise the installation at Winslow Garage. Leister has published a book with her photographs and text further examining these places and her experiences within them.
Elizabeth Leister engages a practice that includes video, performance, drawing and virtual reality. Time and memory are key themes that are woven together often through drawing as a performative act. Temporality and connection to place are at the core of her work where travel, loss and memory are illuminated.
Her work has been presented at the Torrance Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum, and the Delaware Museum of Art; The Drawing Center, Art in General, Apex Art and P.S. 122 in New York, Counterpath in Denver and Highways Performance Space and Gallery in Santa Monica in addition to various artist run spaces.
Leister has performed at homeLA, LACE, and Highways Performance Space, Perform Chinatown, Beyond Baroque and Electric Lodge in Los Angeles. Her networked performances have been presented at the Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries in Wales, the Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery at University of Reno, Outpost Artists Resources in New York and in Low Lives, among other venues.
She has received an ARC grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation in Los Angeles, and grants through The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and The Leeway Foundation of Philadelphia. Leister was awarded a 2014-15 COLA Fellowship grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs in Los Angeles.
She earned an MFA from The Milton Avery Graduate School of the Fine Arts at Bard College and a BFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Leister is Assistant Professor in the Multimedia Option in the Cinema and Television Arts Department at CSUN.