Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Elizabeth Raybee - Combining Personalities to Create Art

If you’ve been searching for a supportive environment in which to learn mosaics, you might want to set your sails for Elizabeth Raybee’s Grout Camp this summer.

Elizabeth provides a venue that supports not only mosaic education with an internationally recognized mosaic artist and teacher, but also picnic lunches at the near-by Russian River and a big Saturday night party! AND....for those who cannot attend, she has recreated her workshop into a 90-minute video called, "Grout Camp in a Box"!

The video condenses the entire workshop into an informative 90 minute introduction to the intricacies and artistry of contemporary mosaic!

All My Sacred Cows

Schooled as a painter and printmaker at the Kansas City Art Institute, Elizabeth moved to San Francisco where she taught Painting, Drawing, Batik, Business for Visual Artists and Mosaics at the Ft. Mason Art Center, San Francisco City College and through her studio. She added Mosaic to the mix in 1988. After 20 years of breaking tile, she also began making some in 2000.

25th Anniversary

Raybe takes a personal stance with her artwork . As diverse as personality itself, she chooses a number of different faces to show the world. For example, there is the observer - chronicling her dogs and children, the laborer- chronicling someone else's parents and pets, and the commentator - filtering her politics through her nervous system, artistic training and other prejudices and out in visual form. All of it is tied together by expressive use of color and a quirky sense of balance that often gives a feeling of motion.

Asking For More

Elizabeth writes:
While all three categories are important to the whole, and there is certainly overlap, I’ll concentrate on the third, as it is what I feel most strongly about. A large portion of it is narrative and usually more of a running visual commentary on my experiences than strictly autobiographical. While I am married for the third time, do have a pond with frogs, and certainly have stuck my foot in my mouth in anger, I made little to no attempt for the characters in “Guardian Angel of Third Marriages”, “Wasted Space” and “Hasty Words come Back to Haunt” to look like me. Conveying the feelings of vulnerability, hope and regret, resonating with my audience on a broader level, are more important than spilling my personal beans. I have done dozens of actual self-portraits - that is me in “All My Sacred Cows” - but most of them fall into the “observer” category.

Boomer Fish

Raybee takes the role of art and artist seriously in influencing the world.

Since I’ve always done work about what I care most deeply about, I can’t help but make artwork now about bio-diversity and human responsibility, politically driven poverty and imprisonment.
Having seen many examples of propaganda art, I can only hope that I’m avoiding the pitfalls of preaching, while using the ability of art to hit home on an emotional level in a way that words often cannot. “Endlessly Connecting Dots”, “Wasted Space” and “Losing More than he ever Knew he Had” are all examples of this type of commentary.

Much of Elizabeth's more rececnt imagery has grown from the experience of traveling through Ukraine, Turkey, Greece and Italy. The exploration of world history through religious wars is one theme that keeps coming up. As the daughter of a Holocost survivor from Ukraine, this has very personal meaning to the artist. Another inspiration is the more personal travel story, with all its stresses and delights.

Olympic Travelers

I find the most interesting parts are where the two intersect. “Olympic Travel Team, Krete ‘04”, “Illuminating Mythic Selves” and “Hoping for Miracles” all tie our personal odyssey, with maps, camera and backpacks, into the journey through historical sites. I used mostly marble for these pieces, giving them art historical reference as well.

Guardian Angel of Third Marriages

I grew up studying and loving the sense of movement and haunted subjects in the paintings of Chaim Soutine and Edvard Munch. I’d like to think I’ve kept in touch with their depth, tempered by the narrative qualities and humor of other influences, such as Marc Chagall, William T. Wiley and Joan Brown. When I got a letter from a fifteen year-old girl in Limmerick, Ireland who was doing a paper on me for school, I thought, “Ah, now I’ve made the big time.” May my influence lead to more good art.

Winter Rains

Elizabeth’s web site has more photographs of her beautiful art work and information about Grout Camp. Please visit it HERE. She has been on past class schedules at Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland.

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