LIZ HICKOK — MIXED MEDIA PRINTS
sublimation print on aluminum | 2015 | 16×32 inches and 30×60 inches
Bright blue crystals grow along a wire fence in the foreground, in front of a blurry and distant industrial cityscape and red-orange sky.
I am driven to confront the delicate balance of Earth’s ecosystem. With glowing colors and shifts in scale, my work calls into question what is real and what is imagined. I construct miniature urban landscapes that are alive and ephemeral, and use photography and video to capture their evolution. I engage material play, conjuring wonder and awe as well as environmental urgency.
My Ground Waters series explores the intersection of chemistry, imagination, and environment. I construct elaborate scale models of urban landscapes, flooding them with the crystal-growing chemical monoammonium phosphate. I control parts of this process and relinquish others to chemical unknowns, evoking the way we assert influence over our environment as well as the limits of human dominance. Each experiment yields unique imagery which, at times, specifically references the landscape. In other instances, the materials reveal a more abstract environment that only suggests the invisible forces at work around us.
As the delicate structures grow, an ominous geological narrative emerges, referencing the toxicities that saturate our ecosystem. But the brilliant colors and crystalline structures also present a vision of hope and regrowth. Amidst invocations of apocalypse, I summon the sublime. At times I take on the role of pseudoscientist, but in my newest series I am collaborating with the scientific community to research polluted waterways in Brooklyn and San Francisco.
I drew inspiration for San Francisco in Jell-O from the city where I live. I distort the original scale of my sculptures into larger-than-life, phantasmagorical creations. The effect is an otherworldly space in which viewers can immerse themselves.
San Francisco-based artist Liz Hickok works at the intersection of photography, video, sculpture, and installation. Hickok creates miniature urban landscapes from ephemeral materials, then alters the scale through photography and video to immerse the viewer in a whimsical and wondrous space — blurring the line between reality and imagination. Hickok exhibits nationally and internationally; her work is included in such collections as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Blue Shield of California; and Mills College Art Museum. Hickok’s series, Fugitive Topography: Cityscapes in Jell-O, attracted widespread media attention, receiving coverage in The New York Times, a feature on CBS’s The Early Show, and NPR. Hickok recently created a new site-specific installation for the Surreal Sublime exhibition at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and had a large solo exhibition at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts in Longview, Texas. She currently has an outdoor photomural on display in Palo Alto, California which integrates three-dimensional layers of augmented reality video and sound. Liz’s next project is an interactive large-scale video projection for Palo Alto’s Code:ART2 festival in October 2021.