Liz Nurenberg

Liz Nurenberg,  Untitled no. 3 (Handhold) , interactive sculpture in foam, fabric, and plastic, 3.75 x 1.75 x 3 inches, 2017

Liz Nurenberg, Untitled no. 3 (Handhold), interactive sculpture in foam, fabric, and plastic, 3.75 x 1.75 x 3 inches, 2017


Technology has drastically changed how people interact. Video chat apps allow us to have "eye" contact across distance and time barriers. The sense of touch, however, has not yet been digitized in the same way. It is an in-person, real-time reciprocal sense. My research and practice focuses on haptic experience and relationships. I make objects that explore themes of intimacy, awkwardness, and personal space by facilitating physical interactions. Participants use or inhabit the pieces, making their bodies integral to the sculptural outcome. Each person determines their own level of interaction under a set of parameters.

My multi-person sculptures act as props that connect people through proximity and activity. They create social spaces that allow us to reconnect with our bodies while we interact and communicate with each other. My furniture sculptures function much in the same way, except the body is supported by the artwork. I am interested in objects that respond to architecture and the environment.

In our digitally mediated culture, many of our social interactions are made manually though interaction with mobile devices; however, the smooth, sleek design of these objects privileges visual interaction. Some of my work explores intimacy with objects through hand held forms. These sculptures gain texture through material play, both hard and soft. Works in the Handholds series reference ergonomic design, yet their functions remain ambiguous.

I use a variety of materials and textures to enrich the tactile experience of the object. Sound and color engage the auditory and visual senses. Everyday objects like furniture, tools, and apparatus offer inspiration for my designs. All of the forms ignite our senses, allowing us to be fully present in the moment. The sculptures can be both comfortable and uncomfortable; the effect of the experience varies based on the level of intimacy that exists between participants.



Liz Nurenberg (b. 1978) is a Los Angeles based artist. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Grand Valley State University (2003) and a Master of Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University (2010.) She is currently a Lecturer at California State University Northridge, and Adjunct Faculty at Otis College of Art and Design. She was awarded a fellowship to Ox-Bow School of Art and Artist Residency in 2002, a Helen B. Dooley Fellowship at Claremont Graduate University in 2010, and received a California Community Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2014. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Experience the art of Liz Nurenberg in Peripheral Vision No. 8

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