“I created spaces high up in trees to take refuge in . . .” Elizabeth Weber, artist
When you sit down to talk with artist Elizabeth Weber, the first thing you feel is a powerful sense of space opening around you, like a nest. Inside the nest, Elizabeth is present with you, simply present, in a place of stillness, calm, and maybe even transformation. There is no goal to be met, no agenda to follow. Just a space opening between two people that is a refuge from the rush of the world outside.
Nests are the center of Weber’s work in “Part to Whole: The Making of Art, the Artist, and the Artist Group,” a six-artist exhibition that has spent several months in the Galleries at Library Square and is closing after this Saturday, June 29. Like the work of the other five artists in the show (Mia Hall, Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Barbara Satterfield, Sandra Sell), Weber’s work is movingly drawn from nature. A walk through this gallery is like a childhood walk through the woods—at every turn, a novel and curious beauty is waiting.
A walk through this gallery is like a childhood walk through the woods . . .
Weber’s nests catch at the heart, enough to arrest you in mid-stride. Their blend of fragility, tenderness, and danger creates a tension also found in nature by the Romantic poets. They called that intense blend of qualities “the sublime,” by which they meant a work of nature or natural art so simultaneously beautiful and strange that it casts you out of rational, everyday thought and into an experience you can’t measure or put into words.
One of Weber’s nests, a white, paper-thin sphere made of leaf skeletons, is perched on a bed of thorns so long, black and sharp that they threaten to pierce you just for looking. But on the thorns, the nest-refuge floats, like a held breath, carrying a peace so light and strong it can’t be penetrated. This is the sublime.
Weber and the other artists of “Part to Whole” have opened this space for you.
If you ever loved the secret paths of the woods or fields, you need to see this exhibition before it closes on Saturday. These works will go with you after you leave. Because when you look as deeply and unflinchingly into Nature as these artists have—bright and dark, life and death—what you find is your own truth. And that is something you do not want to miss.
“Part to Whole: The Making of Art, the Artist, and the Artist Group” is showing at the Galleries at Library Square through Saturday, June 29. Admission is free. Visit us in downtown Little Rock, where Library Square serves as the headquarters of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and includes Main Library, the CALS Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art, the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, and the Bookstore at Library Square.