Liz Collins is a New York City- based artist who has been working across art, design, fashion, installation, and performance for two decades. Employing a range of natural to synthetic materials, incorporating vivid colors, dynamic patterns, emphasizing textures and inventive structures, Collins enjoys pushing the limits and doing the unexpected across the spectrum of textile media. She has had solo exhibitions at the Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY; Heller Gallery, NY; AMP Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Occidental College, LA; Textile Arts Center, NY; AS220, Providence, RI; and the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions including at the ICA/Boston; Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art; the Museum of FIT; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Museum of Arts and Design and MoMA, and can been seen in the upcoming New Museum show Trigger: Gender as a Tool and as a Weapon. Collins’ awards include a USA Fellowship, a MacColl Johnson Fellowship, and residencies at the Siena Art Institute, Haystack, Yaddo, AIR Alaska, and the Museum of Arts and Design.
I work at the intersection of art and design, utilizing different scales that often culminate in large immersive environments. These spaces go beyond the realm of the visual and are functional places to rest, convene, and connect. Rather than inserting my artworks into an ostensibly blank neutral space, I consider and construct each part of the room, including furniture, carpets, and wall pieces. My environments are comfortable while still being optically stimulating, stirring up emotions and mental activity with an arresting, abstract language of shape, color and form. I often incorporate patterns from traffic and emergency signage into my work, gesturing to histories of Op art while also waking up the eye and giving the environment a visceral “stay alert” quality.
Duality is at the core of my aesthetic (pain/pleasure, light/ dark, open/closed). The worlds I create also explore liquid material, electric currents, interconnectivity, energy exchange, and explosive phenomena both natural and human-made. This gives my environments, no matter how warm and welcoming, a tension, like a bed wrapped in caution tape. I work primarily with fabric, yarn, and other materials and techniques in the textile realm including jacquard knitting and weaving. I often collaborate with industrial textile mills and fabricators, and am perpetually inspired by the work technical and production teams play in actualizing materials that could not be manufactured by one person.
In the past few years, I have expanded my work to encompass construction materials and structures: plexiglass, metal, wood. This gives the soft materials a hard element, creating a tension that is part of the conversation for me.