Born in Pasadena and raised in Orange County, Elizabeth Turk earned her M.F.A. at the Rinehart School of Sculpture, Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.
In Turk’s work, the shape of the line is created by extreme loss. That is, the reductive process of carving creates a positive, fragile form in which the absence of the original material is a focus. Turk encourages us to consider how nature has shaped these organic materials long before the artist’s manipulation of them into new forms. When viewed as components in a complex natural system, their singular beauty and inherent mystery is revealed. Turk compels us to view works of art not only as objects to be coveted and collected, but also as expressions of the natural world and our evolving relation to it.
A recipient of numerous awards, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2010), a Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Fellowship (2010), and a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2011), Turk is internationally recognized for transforming her signature medium of marble into strikingly intricate objects that defy convention and challenge our preconceptions of what marble can do. Through the use of electric grinders, dental tools, and files, Turk pushes her medium to its limit, creating in each sculpture a provocative tension between the intrinsic strength of the stone and its inherent fragility, while speaking to larger conceptual and spiritual concerns of time, matter, and space.
During the twenty-two years that Turk has been represented by Hirschl & Adler Modern, the gallery has mounted five extensive solo exhibitions of her work, each accompanied by publications; as well as a solo Art Kabinett at Art Basel Miami Beach (2012), a solo presentation at Masterpiece London (2014), and a solo presentation at the ADAA Art Show in 2017. Across all of these venues, the work was met with critical and commercial success from individuals based in South America, Europe, and the U.S.
Turk’s work resides in numerous prestigious private and public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the Jewish Museum, New York, NY; American University, Washington, D.C. (formerly, the Corcoran Gallery of Art) and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Weatherspoon Gallery, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC; The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; the Catalina Museum for Art & History, CA; and the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis, TN. Institutional monographic exhibitions include Tipping Point: Echoes of Extinction, Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI (2022); Double Take, with Mel Chin, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (2022), Elizabeth Turk: Heaven, Earth, Home, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, VT (2018-19); Elizabeth Turk: Sentient Forms, Laguna Art Museum, CA (2015); Elizabeth Turk: Wings, The Dayton Art Institute, OH (2013); and Elizabeth Turk, The Collars: Tracings of Thought, Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC (2004). The artist lives and works in Santa Ana, CA and New York, NY.