Elizabeth Milton

My performative lens-based work utilizes absurdist character-play and camp materiality to explore identity and affect. Involving a range of participants, from family members to opera singers, my interdisciplinary and collaborative projects explore the aesthetics and power dynamics of amateurism while investigating the cultural desire to inhabit and mimic spectacle culture. Through hyperbolic expressivity, comedic excess and processes of endurance, my work examines the performative potential of maximalist femininity, novelty store glamour and the garish refuse of commercial culture.

During my time at Artscape Gibraltar Point, I plan to explore the visual and conceptual relationship between water as a site of deep escape and the immersive depths of both digital screen space and performative spectacle. Surrounded by the lake, I will develop a video work that collides imagery associated with the low, the queer and the feminine with the wild surface of the natural world. Sculpturally manipulating and animating materials in front of the camera, I will experiment with the creation of painterly effects that reference with both the immersive, sensational space of formal abstraction as well as the mundane psychedlia of screen savers and novelty store ‘spectacle’. Investigating the slippage between the organic and the synthetic, the video will utilize ‘sensational’ materials that unapologetically adopt a maximalist approach to colour and light. Materials like sequins, hypo-colour fabric (that changes when heated), glitter and shifting coloured lights will invoke a DIY ethos while playing with notions of illusion, impermanence and transformation. Throughout this work, a play with projection, light and reflection will collide against the presence of tactile forms. An exploration of the material and the immaterial, reality and fantasy, land and water, will foreground the work. The video work will create a phosphorescent spectacle where hyper-performativity and camp materiality will aim to convey the amphibious experience of drenching oneself in and out of escapist immersion.


Elizabeth Milton: I am a performance and media artist who lives as a guest on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations in Vancouver, Canada. My MFA in Studio Art is from the UBC and BFA in Visual Art from SFU. I am a faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts at Langara College. My work has been exhibited and performed in Canada and Europe at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Artspeak, Access Gallery, the Grunt Gallery, VIVO Media Arts, the Western Front (Vancouver); the Surrey Art Gallery; the Nanaimo Art Gallery; Gallery TPW, Nuit Blanche (Toronto); Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts (Winnipeg); Neutral Ground (Regina) and Altes Finanzamt (Berlin). I have participated in Artist Residencies at the Banff Centre, Access Gallery and Skaftfell Centre for Visual Art, Iceland. 

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