Claremont, Calif. (December 20, 2007) Pitzer alumna Lizabeth Eva Rossof ’95, who was featured in Takashi Murakami’s 2007 selection of emerging artists in GEISAI, Miami creates experimental art that is playfully provocative and visually arresting and includes collaborative performance, public intervention and site-specific installations. Rossof engages a wider audience in her ongoing dialogue on social, political and environmental issues by actively inviting public participation from individuals as well as governing authorities.
Her cunning and cajoling I Witness (2005-07) employs the unwitting collaboration of U.S. police officers and detectives versed in “composite drawing for law enforcement.” Relying on her memory and powers of description, Rossof provides portraits of high-profile political players—known only to her through news programs, papers and other media sources—whose credibility has been repeatedly and publicly challenged. Unaware of their real identities, the detectives create portraits of the suspects; among those unwittingly drawn are Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Dick Cheney. By framing them as criminals, Rossof cleverly illustrates wide public opinion about these politicians and their roles in undermining America’s global identity.
Similarly collaborative and equally provocative, I Bush: 1,000 Words for Bush (2004-08) uses guile and daring to elicit genuine reactions from strangers when shown the official presidential portrait of George W. Bush. Comprised of large-scale pop-colored posters that emulate Apple’s hyper-seductive iPod marketing campaign—dancing silhouettes with headphones—each poster displays one of the 357 responses made to Bush’s image. Through the titillating visual language of advertising, Rossof captivatingly frames these emotionally charged and boldly stated public reactions, arousing another level of response—the American president-as-icon.
Rossof’s practice imaginatively incites debate and stimulates interactive responses to contentious contemporary issues by inventively linking media, memory and public information as knowledge. These images reveal a subconscious aesthetic embedded into our interpretation of authority. By reducing the authoritarian into a sketched caricature of power, Rossof’s work invites further investigation of our shared perceptions of leadership.
Lizabeth Eva Rossof (b.1972) earned a BA in art studio/education from Pitzer College in 1995 and is an MFA candidate in conceptual information arts at San Francisco State University. Rossof has exhibited internationally with venues including U:ni:pon2kau2 Art Gallery, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan (2006); The Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, Australia (2006); The Cesar Chavez Gallery of Art, San Francisco (2005); 2nd City Gallery, Long Beach, California (2004); the Pulse Miami Contemporary Art Fair, Miami, Florida
(2007) and a solo exhibition at West Space Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (2006). Rossof’s research-based productions have earned her the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship (1995-96) and the Jacob K. Javits Graduate Fellowship Award (2005-09) as well as residencies at Montalvo Center for the Arts, Saratoga, California (2007-08); Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France (2008); and CAMAC: Centre d’Art Marnay, Marnay-sur-Seine, France (2008). Currently, Lizabeth Eva Rossof lives and works in San Francisco.
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