Artist Spotlight: Lizz Denneau
by Lizz Denneau, artist and educator
Artist and educator Lizz Denneau at work in her studio. Courtesy of the artist.
My name is Elizabeth Denneau. I am a Tucson artist and art educator. I’m currently an MFA candidate at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My work is mainly driven by narratives of human perseverance, vulnerability, hidden histories, and power dynamics usually revolving around the African American diaspora.
I’m a multidisciplinary artist, which means the content/concept of my work tends to dictate my medium and process from one project to the next. I find freedom in this flexibility; I like to dig into a little bit of everything. I have a love of printmaking, but have also been known to work with textiles, as well as more traditional mediums. Right now my work is focused around a series of sculptures that have manifested around the unspoken, buried, and erased histories of the antebellum south and their reverberations throughout generations into modern culture.
Currently my sculptures are built off of found objects that I find interesting and that speak to me. I may sculpt right over a mannequin or build an entire piece around a random piece of glassware. I have a history in fashion design here in the Southwest that often reveals itself in my work. This takes shape with my love of working with adornments and finding new uses for them within my visual language.
I am not only a lover and maker of art, but also an educator. My practice is dedicated to exposing my high school students to contemporary art making methods with a focus on representation and social justice. This Juneteenth I invite you not only to check out my work, but the work of local and national Black artists. These in particular are much loved by myself and my students.
You could take a look at the visceral and powerful work of Kara Walker (we have a piece in our very own TMA). I suggest watching this Art21 video of her: A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby.
Discover how Theatser Gates repurposes important landmarks and gives them new meaning. You can find a great introduction to his process in Art21‘s Chicago episode.
In that same episode you can watch a Nick Cave production featuring his whimsical suits of armor known as Soundsuits and a performance he did with a performing arts high school.
You can also take a look at the beautiful wealth of Black talent we have here in Tucson. View how University of Arizona professor and artist Aaron Coleman combines multiple layers of expert printmaking techniques, with collage, textured pieces, and 3D pieces on his website.
I suggest doing all of this while vibing out to the amazing sounds of local musician and poet Mattea. You can watch her perform at the Botanical Gardens with Arizona Arts Live (formerly UA Presents).
Thank you for celebrating the emancipation of our ancestors this holiday and uplifting Black creators with your patronage and support!