The Bottom of the Fountain is Painted Turquoise,
By Elizabeth Milton
4th September – 12th October, 2020
Focusing on the carnivalesque nature of Centreville’s manicured gardens and beach fronts, The Bottom of the Fountain is Painted Turquoise uses a performative approach to materiality to queer the representation of the shoreline. Composed of a series of still-life assemblages, the video loops the femme imaginary into a stream of saturated colour and bold form while attempting to wild the manufactured landscape into a site of maximalist play.
Exploring the relationship between leisure and display, the installation is made up of objects and printed textures that reference the cosmetic nature of sites of amusement and their crumbling decay. Referencing the immersive fantasies of both colour-field painting and green screen technology, the painted space of the vitrine engages with the concept of an empty pool, sinking the work into a dialogue around flatness, depth, and surface. Included in the installation are mimetic styrofoam props that reference the found blocks of concrete used in the video. Destabilizing notions of weight, these objects attempt to heighten the tension between artifice and reality while floating the work further toward the off-kilter gravity of illusion.
Developed during a residency in the Fall of 2019 at Artscape Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands, The Bottom of the Fountain is Painted Turquoise speaks to both the specificity of the local landscape as well as to wider discourses around performativity, gender and spectacle culture. It also marks a turn in the artist’s predominantly performative practice, allowing for new attention to be placed on formal relationships and sculptural experimentation.
Elizabeth Milton is a performance and media artist who lives and works on the unceded traditional Territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations in Vancouver, BC. Her performance and lens-based work utilizes camp materiality and performative excess to explore maximalist femininity and the spectacularization of affect. Milton holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of British Columbia and a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University. Her work has been exhibited and performed in Canada, The United States and Europe. Recent performances include A Guided Meditation with VHS Eyelashes, Capture Photography Festival, VIVO Media Arts, Vancouver; Dynasty Handbag’s Weirdo Night, Los Angeles; Feathers, Ether, Sand, Speech, Access Gallery, Vancouver. Elizabeth is a faculty member in the Fine Art Department at Langara College, Vancouver, where she instructs courses in Media and Performance.