Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Artist Beth Livensperger Discusses Her Process

Beth+Livensperger%E2%80%99s+art+is+displayed+in+the+VAC+Jan.+18+to+Feb.+22.
Cyd Collins
Beth Livensperger’s art is displayed in the VAC Jan. 18 to Feb. 22.

Marshall’s art students were given an insight into artist Beth Livensperger’s creative journey and process onWednesday, Jan. 17, at the Visual Arts Center.

Livensperger is a graduate of Yale University, where she earned her Master’s in painting and printmaking. Having put together exhibits in multiple states as well as overseas in Seoul, South Korea, Livensperger is no stranger to sharing her life experiences in the form of art using various mediums.

Livensperger discussed her past installations as well as her current gallery being shown in the Birke Art Gallery at the Visual Arts Center from Jan. 18 to Feb. 22.

Her work is inspired by gender roles and the expectations, politics, surveillance and how careers and modern technology exacerbate these themes.

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After the seminar, Livensperger explained more of her process and themes to the attendees through a Q&A.

“Between graduating college and starting grad school, I had five years,” she said. “I did a lot of strange jobs.”

Livensperger said while none of these jobs were ever interesting in themselves, the time spent there and the people she met made it interesting.

After graduating from grad school and becoming a professor, she became close with older professors who were the first women to break into that institution’s ranks.

“I thought it was really interesting- their struggles that they still had combined with their positions of power,” she said. “For me, this idea of like, ‘Now we do have women in these positions of power in this art school, and it’s difficult; it’s not some kind of utopia.’”

Livensperger wanted to focus on these combinations of themes and how they interact in the world around us. In her art, layering types of information and artistic language is important.

“I got my first post-college job, and I worked for someone who worked at Holmes, and he had the New York Times delivered,” Livensperger said. “I would read it at lunch, and it was the first time I realized there was this world outside of me and what I was doing.”

This was when her paintings started to become more focused on the juxtaposition of large scale events around the world and Livensperger’s privilege and geographic relation to that.

“This kind of relationship between myself, or between any individual, and structures of power began to emerge as a theme,” she said.

As she was beginning grad school, these new foundational themes of her art started as various rooms in the White House. Since Livensperger attended Yale for grad school, she had a first person view of the institutional power it held. She would go into empty classrooms and set up installations of her own, saying it felt as though she was breathing life back into these institutions.

Once moving back to New York, Livensperger felt she had created so many paintings that it was time for a change. This is when her medium shifted from paints to more photography based pieces.

“I continued to be interested in the built environment, in urban architecture and in these types of textures that result when you’re out and about interacting with the world,” Livensperger said.

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