Elizabeth Thach

MFA ’10 Fine Arts 2D

My work is focused on material culture. Using humor and metaphor, I explore how humans interact emotionally with an objective external world: the objects they surround themselves with, the art objects they create, and the commodity objects they consume. I am also interested in how humans use language and poetry to describe the intangible (feelings, aspirations, the future). My imagery is informed both by futurist speculation and past (experienced) visual motifs: the video games of the 80s and 90’s, the patterns of the archeological artifact, and Greek and roman ruins. Re-occurring themes include the idea the art object as a stage, or alternately, as a fragment of something larger or a ruin. Always, I seek images that are as simple and obvious as they are strangely incoherent. I grew up in the Midwestern US and I know crochet from that context. My fiber works are eclectic and improvisational crochet-made pieces. The work is slow going, tedious, and compositional impulses emerge over time: trained as a painter, the pace of crafting slows down my process. Sudden spontaneous decisions only are understood visually several steps later on as the piece is worked. Working this way has allowed me to physically address ideas of time in my work and given me a visual way of thinking about personal action and the artist’s hand. There is a strong art-historical based craft precedent that I am drawn to: I think about William Morris’ socialist idealism of the late Victorian age and Bauhaus artists (Anni Albers’ weavings and Josef Albers’ color theory principals). In the lockdowns of the Spring, I was able to maintain a studio practice from my living room with a crochet needle, and the soothing effect of the constant, repetitive, motion of the crochet needle was therapeutic.

Elizabeth Thach (born Canada, 1974) is visual artist and curator based in Boston who incorporates painting, sculpture, and craft elements in bodies of work that challenge traditional discipline definitions and examine material culture. Her work has been recognized and awards include the Berkshire Taconic Foundation Artist Fund Grant, the Weitzel-Barber Art Travel Prize, the Vermont Studio Center Individual Art Fellowship, and the George Nick Painting Prize. She was a member of the Musa Artist Collaborative 2018-2019 and her work is currently a part of the Boston Drawing Project and White Columns Curated Flat Files. She received an MFA from MassArt, and a BA with a studio art major from Vassar College.