Artist Statement - 2016

Through my latest multidisciplinary work I explore the ways in which our senses alter our experience and perception of the world. I’m interested in how we use the intersection of our senses to communicate, and I approach this as an individual who is medically, although not culturally, deaf. My long, slow progression into deafness started when I was six years old and culminated in 2003, when I decided to undergo a cochlear implant surgery, which carved away some of my skull bone and muscle and placed a bionic computer-ear into the smallest crevices beyond my eardrum. I find that my definitions of “language” and “communication” are continuously shifting and are directly tied to my own ability to navigate these concepts with my disability. 

As an artist who has been a painter and a drawer since 2010, I feel an obvious and welcome shift in my studio practice through the new work I am creating. My art practice has expanded significantly this year, enveloping video performance, interactive performance, and sound manipulation. Parallel to these new genres, I am steadily adding to my body of abstract mixed media. These paintings and drawings result from an intuitive decision-making process, a dialogue between myself and the art forming in front of me. Nothing is planned, and a final “outcome” is not determined as I work; this has motivated me to investigate my relationship to my self and my senses. 

During this time of new media and shifting art focus, I search for ways in which these two bodies of work relate to each other. As I made progress in my studio this year, I developed a mental image of myself at the center of these two artistic endeavors. On one side of this balance, I concentrate on my internal life and its subtle manifestations. My hours spent drawing and painting have created room for self-awareness and self-examination, and have literally formed a time and space for me to be present and focused. My hearing loss has also allowed this inner space to be enforced and expand. 

On the other side of this balance, I see myself turned outward. How do I, with my rather well formed internal life, interact externally with the world? In this outside existence, my hearing loss has made a mess of things. Awkward social situations, missed communication, and questions about my “accent” have made me want to retreat to the comfort of my internal world. Working with new media (specifically, with interactive components) enhances my experience of this internal/external balance, and it forces me to drag my inner life into sections of my outer life in ways not always comfortable for me. 



2019 MFA Canditate - University of Illinois Urbana Champaign 

2006 B.A. Fine Art - University of Minnesota 



2019      The Plains Art Museum, Fargo ND (upcoming) 

2018      Symposium on Sensory Loss and Art. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis MN

2017      Interference. Soo VAC, Minneapolis MN

2015      Meridians. Public Functionary, Minneapolis MN

2014      Elements Unheard. MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids MN



2019      The Other Four. The Plains Art Museum, Fargo ND (upcoming)

2018      A Place for Us. Hairpin Arts Center, Chicago IL (curated by Heather Darcy Bhandari)

             The Film & Video Poetry Society (screening). Los Angeles CA

              Humanly Possible. Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee WI 

2017     Twentieth International Opening Exhibition. Woman Made Gallery, Chicago IL 

             Society for Photographic Education, Northwest Conference (screening). Portland OR

             Between the Sky & the Earth. Roots & Culture, Chicago IL (curated by Sharmyn Cruz Rivera)

2016     Michael Dandley / Liza Sylvestre. Nahcotta, Portsmouth NH 

             Art(ists) on the Verge 7 Fellowship Exhibition. Soap Factory, Minneapolis MN 

2015     Meridians. Public Functionary, Minneapolis MN

             Enormous Tiny Art Show 18. Nahcotta, Portsmouth NH 

2014     Enormous Tiny Art Show 16. Nahcotta, Portsmouth NH

             Ned Evans / Carly Glovinski / Liza Sylvestre. Nahcotta, Portsmouth NH 

             Get Lucky. Soo VAC, Minneapolis MN

2013     Enormous Tiny Art Show 14. Nahcotta, Portsmouth NH

2012     The Collector, Berkeley CA

             Natural Curiosities. Miami International Airport, Miami FL

             This and That. Art Center of South Florida, Miami FL

2011      Recently Acquired. Audrey Love Gallery, Miami FL

2010     Small Works. The Swenson Gallery, Miami FL

             Lucky You. Audrey Love Gallery, Miami FL



2018     Artist in Residence - Center for Applied Translational Sensory Science & Weisman Art Museum

             Graduate Thesis Travel Grant, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

             Mary Jane Neer Scholarship, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

2017      Art Works Grant, National Endowment for the Arts (in conjunction with SooVAC)

             Travel Grant, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

             Mary Jane Neer Scholarship, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

2016     University Fellowship, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

             Newtopia Cyder, San Diego CA (Commission)

2015     Art(ists) on the Verge 7 Fellow (Jerome Foundation)

             VSA Jerome Emerging Artist Grantee

             Metropolitan Regional Arts Council - Arts Learning Grantee

2014     MN State Arts Board - Arts Learning Grant Grantee

             MN State Arts Board - Artist Initiative Grantee

2012     The James Hotel, Miami FL (Commission)

             Rochester Museum of Fine Art. Rochester NH (Permanent Collection)



2018     Say What Club Convention - Artist Talk/Lecture

2015     MN State Arts Board - Artist Initiative Panelist

2014     MN State Arts Board - Artist Initiative Panelist



Guerber, Megan, "5 Senses, 5 Artists", SciArt Magazine, June 2016. 

Abbe, Mary, "Abstract Tensions", Star Tribune, December 18 2015.

Regan, Shelia, "Liza Sylvestre's Sensual Investigations at Public Functionary", City Pages Art Blog