Sculptor Elizabeth Turk was raised in Orange County and completed her master's degree in sculpture at the Rhinehart School of Sculpture of the Maryland Institute. Though she currently works primarily with marble, she has mastered a variety of media since the late 1980s, molding forms in wax and clay; casting objects in bronze and iron; working with fragile material such as glass and porcelain; and making video, photography, and installations.
Embracing a classical medium, Turk painstakingly transforms solid 400-pound blocks of Sivec and Carrara marble into improbable shapes. Her fascination with patterns results in large, intricately latticed collars and ribbons of undulating waves, evoking both man-made and organic forms: starched lace, Elizabethan ruffs, pinwheels, flowers, even the double helix of DNA. A testament to Turk’s remarkable technical ability, the marble works are a study in contrasts—solid material appears weightless, liquid, buoyant, illustrating the tension between both the inherent strength of the stone and its fragility.
"The rigor of the work, the exhaustion of the sound, the challenge intellectually and physically, makes it real… A dialogue with stone tests you," Turk explains.
Her work has been exhibited at solo shows at Bandini Art, Culver City, CA; Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, NY; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; and Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA. Group exhibitions have included the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Ben Maltz Gallery at the Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA; Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA; American Institute of Architecture, New York, NY; and the Japan Bank Building, Hiroshima, Japan.
Turk’s pieces are featured in such collections as the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the National Museum for Women in the Arts, both in Washington, D.C., as well as the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College in Claremont, CA. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and residency programs, including the L’Oreal Art and Science Prize in 2001 for a collaboration with Kirara Kiwacha in Japan, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, the New York City Art Commission Award for Excellence in Design, and the J.M. Kohler residency program, all in 2000.