Tag Archives: Liz Gibson

Pictures of Home

Our Shared Past blends the personal and universal through the prism of family

["It Was Supposed to be Fun." All original images courtesy of Jefree Shalev.]

[“It Was Supposed to be Fun.” All original images courtesy of Jefree Shalev.]

["A Few Years Later," photograph by Carolyn Brass, 2013.]

[“A Few Years Later,” photograph by Carolyn Brass, 2013.]

The phenomenon of memories can be as slippery and ephemeral as the combination of passing time and thought that lifts them into our consciousness. Does every memory that we keep carry with it some importance and resonance? Why will one recollection occupy our lives while others are overlooked, dismissed or forgotten altogether? Refined through the spectrum of our feelings and emotions, the past can bring us joy, resentment, and even mislead us completely. When combined with nostalgia, that seemingly-universal longing for what can no longer be experienced, a remembrance can even turn into a kind of memorial. Nostalgia can be likened to a funeral where time is buried, yet we still insist on revisiting the headstone, in some weird hope of deciphering these memorials of our past.

And if there is an even greater collective resemblance of memory, it is that they are generally tied into relationships; reveries which seem tethered to our connections to lovers, enemies, our own place in the greater universe, and invariably family. Continue reading

Body of Art

“Deformance Artist” Liz Gibson cuts a striking figure of creative empowerment

(Liz Gibson as “Three Legged Fox”)

Confessional storytelling, visual art and full-blown imaginative possession disguised-as-performance seek union in the world of Liz Gibson. The self-described “Deformance Artist” uses characters like Three Legged Fox and Ben Wa Betty to invite the audience into captivating events that chronicle Gibson’s personal life story of deformity while touching on universal themes of alienation, adversity and ultimately hope. A native of Western Pennsylvania, the 38 year old artist and educator was born with a deformed right hand featuring two fingers. Over the past decade plus, it is a disability that Gibson has explored, celebrated and even fetishized to the point of that word’s original definition – imbuing her body’s unique story with an almost mystical fervor that is tempered by the artist’s inquisitive, personable and humorous nature. Her two most summoned characters are extreme dual archetypes of Gibson’s interior realm sent out to explore our world. Three Legged Fox is Gibson’s tender persona, an innocent suddenly realizing that she is not like the other children. Ben Wa Betty is the sexualized form of that same self-conscious sense of difference, a brash adolescent intent on shocking and even terrifying the audience. Gibson creates these characters from the ground up, spending months writing the original script, planning what she calls an “immersive experience” with an obsessive attention to detail that ranges from tirelessly rehearsing her lines to designing and making her own costumes.

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