V. Elizabeth Turk’s Maia
V. Elizabeth Turk
Maia from the series The Pleiades
48×34 inch framed
Unique Van Dyke print (photogram)
V. Elizabeth Turk’s piece is a homage to hand processes, the building blocks of photography. Using VanDyke Brown and photogram methods, Turk’s work is an ode to human connection with nature.
These images are about the potential of light and shadow to convey ideas tied to our human nature. At once, they accurately trace and pervert our collective reality. As schematics alluding to anatomical illustrations, they suggest the creation of a mythological figure or a strange cyborg. Here the human figure is ever present, but absent the details that convey humanity. Instead, materials from the natural world perform an elaborate mime, as stand-ins for the visceral elements of our make-up: skin, veins, and bone. The ephemeral qualities of these figures evoke the ubiquitous nature of time, questioning past, present, and future while presenting us with reminders of morality as stark yet obscure as the Shroud of Turin.
Each image is unique, produced using an antiquarian photographic process without a camera. That ritual is akin to alchemy. Mixing the chemistry in a dim light, setting up, waiting for the sun, the long exposures, and the final processing (again in dim light) - more often than not render graphic chaos, accidents and fortuitous marvels. That controlled chaos lends humanity to these images and is at the core of their magic.
V. Elizabeth Turk was an undergraduate student of painting before making a life in photography–in which she holds a Master of Visual Arts Degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta. For decades she has mentored young photographers as a professor of photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta. Turk continues her active engagement with her peers as a career-long member of the Society for Photographic Education.
Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and is collected by Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, the Polaroid USA Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta, and the Lamar Dodd Art Center in LaGrange, GA. In 2005 she co-authored Mantle Pieces of the Old South: Lost Architecture and Southern Culture (The History Press) with writer William P. Baldwin.
Her awards and honors include: Georgia Women in the Visual Arts, Honoree; Georgia Council for the Arts, Individual Artist Grant; Fulton County (Atlanta) Arts Council, Individual Artist Grant; Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Individual Artist Grant.
Ms. Turk divides her time between Atlanta, Georgia and McClellanville, South Carolina.