Elizabeth Zvonar is a Canadian artist whose collages and sculptures encounter us as objects of curiosity and contemplation. Her choice of mediums is vast, including brass, stone, porcelain, and hand-cut collage, but no matter what she creates, Zvonar’s work is tied together by a consistent style that is tactfully sexual, critically engaged, and subtly humorous. Her motifs include multiplicities of disembodied hands and fingers, magazine cutouts juxtaposing seductive imagery with the silly or strange, and high-fashion objects (such as porcelain high heels) splattered with a suggestive, white glaze. These works grab our attention and activate our minds, and this is precisely their intention. As Zvonar expresses in a fascinating interview with Here and Elsewhere,
“I like to make things strange and interesting to look at in order to engage. My method is tied to how advertising operates. I tend to use sex blatantly or metaphorically, mimicking advertising strategies [and] pushing the image/concept/work into unfamiliar territory.”
In this process of defamiliarization, Zvonar’s works become perceptual exercises in the effects of familiar and manipulative advertising imagery — the types of images that, as Zvonar acutely points out, inundate our waking lives “should one have their eyes open when walking down a street or in line at a grocery store” (Source). By removing idealized bodies and coveted material objects from their usual, seductive contexts and reconfiguring them in a socially aware manner, Zvonar’s creations cleverly critique the way fashion media and advertising operate on us by fragmenting and sexualizing the body.
Check out Zvonar’s website for a larger collection of her works, including a list of past exhibitions. If you’d like to learn more about her artistic themes and creative processes, I highly recommend reading the interview conducted by Here and Everywhere.