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Elizabeth Spotswood Spencer, Elizabeth Spencer, Artist, New Bern, NC, sculpture, North Carolina, Elizabeth Spencer, mixed media, contemporary craft, wood, folk, art, woodcraft, carver, public sculpture, surrealism, figurative, painter,

As a little girl I was a smooth, freckled face among a sea of wrinkles, a rapt expression enchanted by stories, legend and lore.  A soft breeze of voices whispering in my ears as the tribe of women who raised me told me where I came from. Held tight with fingers crooked by age interlaced around my belly, my grandmother would tell me the tale of the Grey Man. And then the crooked fingers would shift from pale to dark and there I would sit on Josephine’s lap listening to the story of the bastard from Tangier. Through the rotating and sure touch of the women who raised me, I was given elaborate maps of stories to guide me, to illustrate where fact meets fiction, shadow becomes light, and where the most tender parts that entice and tangle the human condition are eventually exposed.

The stories of my childhood told me of joy, reassured me of disappointment, and gently explained that love and pain are never far from one another.  They left me with a permanent ache of what I have no other word than “homesickness” to describe.  And as I listened to these same stories told over and over again, I began to learn that these
stories, while unique only to a small part of the world, spoke of experienced
lessons.  They have become a type of collective experience that allows me to navigate
through reality and develop a greater sense of identity.

I am always captivated by the idea of a surreal experience within the bounds of reality.  It is not faith that is important, but encouragement that a person, a place, and a time have an element of magic and mysticism that can be revealed on an individual and intimate level. Using stories and contemporary experiences, embedded between the surfaces of the human condition, I am able to mold the world into a reflection of what is absolute and what is wished for.  I am always seeking for ways to make this union tangible through an instinctive mixture of concept, form, and materials.

My work reflects heavily layered, magical and surreal moments encrusted with shards of nobility, where fact has little supremacy. Thus I often find myself in a rich and
superstitious dream world where what I remember, what I want, and who I am
dramatically collide.  I take these collisions and create both functional and non-
functional wooden and mixed media sculptures that construct a fantastical reverie.

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