Elizabeth Larty is a Galway based ceramicist. Her work primarily focuses on movement and form of animals. Her ceramic sculptural work is distinctive in that its expression of horses and hounds is not always traditional in representation with amorphous and surreal forms which clearly define movement in situ.
Gianna Tasha: Hi Elizabeth. I wanted to ask you about your interest in animals and how that interest then transferred to you art practice. Your research photographs seem to show a real affinity with the animals you work with?
My relationship with the natural world keeps me grounded and helps me to see the bigger picture. We are animals ourselves and it’s something that is often neglected; this reason I believe has led to a lot of unhappiness in society.
Our ancestors lived and breathed nature and walked with the animals as equals, today we have moved so far from this and the animals are disappearing.
I moved to Galway in 2012 for college and had little contact with my companion animals, primarily my dog Saskia who stayed at the family home. That’s when I really started creating animals to try and fill the lack of their presence in my life at the time. I created them with their own stories and personalities and loved them as their creator. When I look at an animal I see them as an equal, I look beyond the exterior to find their energy which I strive to capture in my work.
Gianna Tasha: It is that energy which makes your works stand out, they are very unique and seem to appeal to a broad audience. The response you received from your graduate show was phenomenal, and you have had a number of shows since then. Can you tell me a little about your creative process since you graduated, how you begin a piece and ultimately how you know it is complete?
Elizabeth Lartey: They are created with love and admiration and I think that can be felt by the audience. Its so lovely watching people interact with the work, the sculptures seem familiar and comforting in a way. Since graduating I joined forge ceramic collective in Galway city which is where I spend most of my time creating and exploring the material. Everything is made through manipulating the clay into shapes and from the shapes a form is suggested and then that form is encouraged to surface. The sculptures begin as a solid object until the surfaces are dry enough to hold its shape at which point its sliced into sections hollowed out and finally, like a puzzle, put back together. Its a very time sensitive material with a great deal of time invested in each piece. Its hard to know when a piece is completed Its important to keep moving forward and not get stressed over a piece , that stress shows itself through the work.
Gianna Tasha: Speaking of stress, you have a show coming up in Galway at the end of July, can you tell me a bit about the show, how it came about and the idea behind it?
Elizabeth Lartey: It can be extremely difficult to sustain your practice outside the comforts of college. With pressure to work full time and not being able to afford materials working part time I can honestly say that it hasn’t been easy. Of Horse and Human came about in attempt to keep myself focused, to push on and continue to create. Of Horse and Human is opening is on the 31st of July and is running till the 6th of August at Galway City Gallery.
The exhibition will showcase new works from myself and Grainne Coughlan depicting the movement and energy of the horse through paintings, photographs and ceramic sculptures. For the duration of the exhibition we are raffling a piece of work to help raise funds for two local organisations Horse connect and Forgotten Horses.
Gianna Tasha: Good luck with the show and I hope you raise lots of funds with the raffle! Looking forward to seeing the collective work in the space!
Elizabeth Lartey: Thanks! Anyone who wants to can also find out more about Horse Connect and Forgotten Horses by clicking here and here! They are fantastic organisation and we are delighted to be raising some funds for them through our artwork.
You can see more of Elizabeths work here
Of Horse and Human runs from July 31st – Aug 6th at Galway City Gallery
(all images courtesy of artist)