Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007

Greenbelt artist invited to show work at national exhibition

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Raphael Talisman⁄The Gazette
Sculptor Elizabeth Morisette of Greenbelt is among 27 artists nationwide whose work is on display as part of a Members’ Juried Exhibition at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. Morisette works out of a studio in the Greenbelt Community Center.
Discarded textbooks have become a treasured commodity for Greenbelt artist Elizabeth Morisette. The two-hour long process of ripping pages out, folding them and stapling them together has paid off. Morisette's work is getting national attention.

Her 33 waxed-paper, miniature masterpieces are on display at the annual Members’ Juried Exhibition at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, which debuted Jan. 26 and is scheduled to end April 8.

Morisette is one of 27 artists throughout the United States who had their work selected for the exhibition.

The bulk of Morisette’s materials comes from books collected and donated at Greenbelt Elementary’s Book Fair, held during Greenbelt’s Labor Day Festival.

‘‘The books that are left would otherwise be thrown away so I do my own recycling,” she said.

Curator Alex Baker judged and reviewed the art from a pool of 149 artists nationwide.

‘‘I tried my best to include work in as many different genres and media as possible, addressing a variety of themes, gestures and artistic practices,” Baker said. ‘‘There’s a little bit of everything here. Organic minimalism that evokes [1960s artist] Eva Hesse; the works of Jessie Lehson and Elizabeth Morisette; architectural deconstruction that channels another 1960s great, Gordon Matta-Clark; and photography that documents the idiosyncrasies and typologies of the built environment.”

Morisette said it was exciting to have such a well-known curator as Baker select her work from such a large pool of nationwide artists.

The full-time sculptor said her passion for art has been blossoming since 1994 when she graduated from North Carolina State University.

When she is not creating her own work, Morisette inspires other aspiring artists by teaching ‘‘Artful Afternoon” classes at the Greenbelt Community Center. Artful Afternoon is open to the public. The art sessions are held the first Sunday of every month at the center.

Morisette led more than 90 participants in creating the backdrop for the stage event at Greenbelt’s New Year’s Festival on Dec. 31. As a Greenbelt resident artist, she is required to host an Artful Afternoon session once a year.

‘‘I always wanted to be a teacher, so in a way I’m able to by teaching community arts,” said the Greenbelt resident of 11 years.

Barbara Davis, Greenbelt’s artists program assistant, said that Morisette’s personality and teaching style is very attractive to residents, as it allows them to create art that is coming from their hearts.

‘‘She is very inspiring to me. Artful Afternoon is designed for her,” Davis said. ‘‘She is very community-minded in that she is good in letting people express themselves.”

E-mail Marcus Ngbea at mngbea@gazette.net.