RIT’s Caroline Werner Gannett Project Highlights Award-Winning Sculptor

Artist Elizabeth Turk can turn 700 pounds of marble into lace

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Sculptor and artist Elizabeth Turk highlights RIT’s Caroline Werner Gannett Project, “Visionaries in Motion V,” May 2 in Webb Auditorium.

Elizabeth Turk, a MacArthur award-winning artist and sculptor, has always believed that sculpture, particularly stone sculpture, is immortal due to its weight and solidity. Turk will explore that which she considers solid and the core of matter when she joins the list of award-winning presenters for Rochester Institute of Technology’s 2011–2012 Caroline Werner Gannett Project’s “Visionaries in Motion V” speaker series. Turk presents “Emptiness of Matter” at 8 p.m. May 2 in Webb Auditorium, James E. Booth Hall.

During her presentation, Turk will explain how the intrinsic weight and physicality of a rock is known intuitively, long before it is explained with words. “My work plays with paradox,” she says. “I carve emptiness into this idea of weight and in the remaining negative space, the core of matter is questioned.”

Turk’s work is known for expanding concepts of stone, primarily marble, while instilling in her observers that dialogues with material can adapt tradition without eradicating it. “The fun part about [marble] for me is playing with gravity, thinking about gravity all the time and at what point the balance will just implode.”

Inspired by science, her current work explores will and intention, mass and void. She is the 2010 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Barnett and Annalee Newman Fellowship. In 2011, she was named a Smithsonian Research Fellow.

Founded and chaired by Mary Lynn Broe, the Caroline Werner Gannett Professor of Humanities, the Gannett Project’s “Visionaries in Motion” series explores new connections across technologies, social sciences and humanities, increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration both on campus and in the Greater Rochester community. In 2009, the series was selected by City Newspaper’s Critics’ Pick for “Best Lecture Series in Rochester.”

All Gannett Project talks are free and open to the public. For more information, including past videos, interviews and links from the Caroline Werner Gannett Project, go to www.cwgp.org.