Liz Collins

Artist Biography

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. 

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Artist Statement

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.

Solo Exhibition

Liz Collins

September 1, 2018 - October 1, 2018

Thread by Thread

March 15, 2017 - April 23, 2017

2017 Scott Roben, “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,” December 1, 2017 Art in America

2017 Peter Schjeldahl, “The Art World As Safe Space,” October 9, 2017 The New Yorker

2017 “When It Comes To Gender, Let Confusion Reign,” September 28, 2017 New York Times

2017 Andrew Gardner, “How a Revolution in “Ugly” design is Upending Conventions of Beauty,” September 6, 2017 Artsy

2016 Romanov Grave, Interview with Liz Collins May 22, 2016 Blog

2016 Wendy Vogel, “Portfolio – Liz Collins” November 30, 2016 Bomb Magazine

2015 Samantha Elliot, KNIT:Innovation in Fashion, Art, Design, Laurence King

2013 Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer, Art and Queer Culture:1885-2005, Phaidon

2010 Glenn Adamson, The Craft Reader, Berg

2010 Jessica Hemmings, In the Loop: Knitting Now, Black Dog

2008 Freddie Robins, Knit New York, Textile Forum March issue

2008 Julia Bryan Wilson, The Politics of Craft, MODERN PAINTERS, February issue

2007 Sabrina Gschwandtner, KnitKnit: Presenting 27 Innovative Knitters and Their Projects, Stewart, Tabori and Chang

2006 Sandy Black, Fashioning Fabrics: Contemporary Textiles in Fashion, Black Dog Publishing

2006 David Sokol, Knit in Peril, Metropolis, January issue

2005 Eric Wilson, In Fashion, Who Really Gets Ahead?, Styles Section, New York Times, November

2003 Guy Trebay, The Subtle Power of Lesbian Style, Styles Section, New York Times, June