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In each of artist Liz Rundorff Smith’s pieces, with vibrant color and iconic abstract shape, she creates visual forms that fluctuate between our stable view of the present to the foggy loss of clarity tied to memory. Each piece is crafted as if in motion, color and lines constantly in flux, creating forms that seemingly come together as recognizable, familiar shapes, while simultaneously falling apart, morphing before the viewer’s eyes.


With forms reminiscent of green cut grass and a palette fit for the faux perfection of mid-century America and the vibrant patterns and plastic toys of the 1990s, Rundorff Smith illustrates both sentimentality and nostalgia with each color choice. We all remember that certain pair of jelly sandals in coral pink or scented marker in highlighter yellow from our childhood. With this, she captures that lost nostalgia, uncovering a sentimental memory of the past.


In minimal shapes and crisp cut lines, Rundorff Smith’s work adds personal experience and memory to the familiar use of minimalism, undermining aesthetic autonomy. The shape of each object is repeated, reproduced across the paintings while allowing imperfection and lack of precision to guide her craft, reminiscent of iconic 1960s pop art with a modern eye. These reductive, simple forms convey the physical experience of space, forgetting for a moment specificity and real recognition. Though we don’t know what they may be, we know we recognize each form. With these abstract shapes, we feel familiarity, but not certainty, reverting to the deeper, more primal folds of our mind.


Above all else, Rundorff Smith’s work seems to find the beauty in mundane spaces, places we overlook that seem to be, as if by accident, so visually engaging. These are the type of items we spent long hours in our childhood studying, laying across the fresh cut grass, eyeing street signs and weeds and old graffiti, abandoned fences and the neighbor’s backyard. In the mundane, we can become obsessed with the largely ignored everyday visual language. With boredom, we start to see unexpected shapes and patterns – and, of course, visual beauty. Within each piece, Liz Rundorff Smith projects this personal, emotional response and captures the surprising beauty of our mundane, ordinary daily spaces and the pieces of existence we so often overlook. 

by Emily Berge, Art in Res

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