Artist of the Month

La Grange’s Kirkwood
sculpts in a variety of mediums

She says she finds inspiration in nature

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (August 2012) – Elizabeth Kirkwood began her artistic career as a sculptor. She has evolved over time to now be able to express herself in a variety of mediums that exhibit her wide range of artistic ability.
As an artist, she is self-taught. “I’m what many consider an ‘outsider artist,’” said Kirkwood, who resides in La Grange, Ky. “I have taught myself what I needed to know to get the message across through my work.”

Elizabeth Kirkwood

Photo provided

Elizabeth Kirkwood is a native
of Mississippi who found her
way to Oldham County via California.

After working for a time with large pieces of stone weighing hundreds of pounds that became too difficult for her to move by herself, Kirkwood realized that she needed to use materials that could move themselves, she said. Kirkwood eventually began working in what she terms “portable sculpture.”
She began crafting jewelry, or “wearable art,” she said. Kirkwood often uses kiln-fired glass and vintage beads. “I like using found objects. I’ll use anything that looks interesting,” such as driftwood and sandpaper disks.
At age 62, her solo sculpting shows have been what she termed, “my take on life.” She is an active supporter of consumer, social justice, and environmental and animal rights organizations, themes that are often reflected in her artwork.
Kirkwood will be the featured Artist of the Month for August at Gallery 104 in La Grange. This exhibit will include her photography and two-dimensional mixed media work as well.
Kirkwood said she “manipulates and uses photography as part of mixed media pieces,” that she creates.
“Elizabeth is one of our most prolific artists as both a jeweler and multimedia 2D artists and sculptor,” said Kathy Dowling, executive director for Gallery 104 and Arts Association of Oldham County. “She is a founding member of the Arts Association of Oldham County and Gallery 104.”
Artists of the Month are chosen “at random by our Galley 104 group of artists,” Dowling said. “They are invited to have double the display space at Gallery 104.” The gallery is owned and operated by the Arts Association of Oldham County.
Born in Mississippi, Kirkwood has lived half of her life in the Deep South and northern California. She moved from Sonoma County, Calif., to Kentucky while working for Hospice.
After commuting to Oldham County from Louisville for a time, she decided to move to La Grange. She has worked as a nurse for 34 years, most recently as a psychiatric nurse for the local Seven Counties Services psychiatric outpatient center.
“I love the energy in her use of color, texture and form in all of her works,” said Dowling. “She is one of our only artists who aren’t afraid of going abstract. She seems to use her artwork as her own therapy, stress relief and as an expression of her passions.”
In addition to being a member of the Arts Association of Oldham County for the last five years, Kirkwood is a member of Enid: Generations of Women Sculptors in Louisville. The group is comprised of a number of well-known Louisville artists, she said.
Like many artists, Kirkwood appreciates the beauty to be found in nature. When creating artwork she is also inspired by animals and even human nature at times. She doesn’t necessarily have a favorite medium to work in, but chooses one based on “what I have to say as an artist.”

• For more information on Elizabeth Kirkwood visit her website at www.e-art-gallery.com. For more information on the Arts of the Month series at Gallery 104, contact Kathy Dowling at (502) 222-3822 or visit: www.Gallery104.org.

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