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Elizabeth Turk

Elizabeth Turk '94 has been called a genius for her ability to make marble look featherweight. Named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow, Turk was recognized for her work with a $500,000 "genius" grant for her elegant marble sculptures.

In Turk's installation series The Collars, hefty blocks of 400-pound marble are transformed into 21 delicate sculptures. In her hands, a traditionally heavy medium is reduced to a weightless and almost skeletal level of intricacy. The work recall elements of the natural world--skeleton, spiders, and shark's teeth--as well as Elizabethan fashion and antique lace patterns.

Turk received a BA in international relations from Scripps College in Californ ia before attending MICA's Rinehart School of Sculpture. Graduate school at MICA gave her the unfettered freedom to pursue her own ideas. "MICA taught me to 'figure it out on your own,' just like an art career," she said. "It is a very individual, and, at time, tough path."

Much of Turk's career has been marked by an interest in a variety of mediums, including wax, clay, bronze, and porcelain, as well as photography and video. But the demands of working with marble were part of what drew her to sculpture.