Elizabeth Corkery – Establishing Shots

 Imagine a formal garden – space of manicured symmetry, renaissance proportions, fountains, wealth, court intrigue and topiary.   You might be imagining something like the gardens at the Chateau de Fontainbleu or Florence’s Boboli Gardens — an architecture of artifice where nature-in-submission is a proxy for power. 


E. Corkery - Establishment Shot

 Now shift your imagination to a spaceship-like structure that seems to have crashlanded in the middle of a Flemish landscape painting.  You might now be ready to consider print and installation artist Elizabeth Corkery’s new body of work  — generated during her recent residency at the Frans Masereel Center, that future-modern mecca for print nestled amid farms and windmills in Kasterlee, Belgium.  (Application for the next round of residencies is 1 August, btw – get on it!) 

 Sydney-born and Boston-based, Corkery’s work focuses on the repressive power and utopic vision of hypermediated courtly spaces, such as the Palace of Versailles (already familiar to the printerested), Formal Gardens, and theater and film tableaux.  It’s the slippage between staged and real, and heavy mediation of these spaces that interests Corkery – and she further twists these landscapes through both two and three dimensions in her installation work.


 At FMC, Corkery has taken her interest in representations of formal gardens to the realm of film, an extension of her ongoing project Establishing Shots.  Amassing and cataloging hundreds of film and TV screenshots and retranslating these images into meticulous small-format etchings which maintain cinema’s “letterbox” or TV’s 4:3 aspect ratio but evoke the aesthetic of architectural engravings.  

Corkery - process photos


Establishment Shot - detail

 Consider a screen grab of a 21st century digital period piece production (a 2D digital  representation of actors in 2D/3D tableau) featuring a 18th Century garden (possibly a stage set rendered in faux 3D or an actual place), re-rendered in an engraving mark (crosshatching-a 2D analog mark) and then add an extra layer of photographic silkscreen (Ben Day Dots, digital-meets-analog).  Sweeping views of monumental spaces are re-rendered on an intimate scale.  Engravers mark meets bitmap and contemporary cinematic conventions meet the rectilinear lines of the renaissance garden. The result is pretty sweet.  

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Categories: Artists, Interviews

One Response to “Elizabeth Corkery – Establishing Shots”

  1. Luther says:

    I love these