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Elizabeth Demaray Wins 2003 AEM Award

RIDGEFIELD, CONNECTICUT.- The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum presents today “Elizabeth Demaray: 2003 Aldrich Emerging Artist Award Recipient,” on view through August 31, 2003. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Demaray has been selected as the recipient of the Aldrich Emerging Artist Award for 2003 by the curatorial staff of the Museum. This award is given to an artist whose work exhibits bold innovation, exciting originality, clear direction, and serious dedication. As the 2003 recipient, Demaray will exhibit her work in a solo exhibition opening June 1, 2003, on view through August 31, 2003. With a background in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Elizabeth Demaray creates sculptures that make profound connections between science, art, and cultural assumptions.
The Aldrich Emerging Artist Award is administered and the recipient selected by the curatorial staff of The Aldrich Museum, which includes associate curator Jessica Hough, assistant director Richard Klein, and director Harry Philbrick. Beneficiaries of the award, which has been presented by the Museum since 1997, receive a cash prize of $3,000 and the opportunity to exhibit at The Aldrich. Previous winners have included Roxy Paine, 1997; Paul Henry Ramirez, 1998; Bonnie Collura, 1999; John F. Simon, Jr., 2000; and Claire Corey, 2001; and Yuken Teruya, 2002.
A conceptually based sculptor, Demaray’s work has involved domesticating the great outdoors by knitting sweaters for plants, upholstering stones, and manufacturing alternative forms of housing for hermit crabs out of plastic. In a recent work titled The Nike Missile Cozy Project, Demaray upholstered a 10-ton Nike-Hercules Nuclear Warhead in eighty-eight yards of light blue quilted satin. In hand mapping the contours of the warhead in its silo at the Headlands Nike Missile Site in Sausalito, California, Demaray makes approachable the otherwise inimical object.
For this exhibition, Demaray will take the Nike Missile Cozy and stuff it, creating a lumpy, soft-bodied variant of the original form. This stuffed missile, titled Effigy, from the Nike Missile Cozy Project, will be laid out across a series of sawhorses and inhabit the entire length of an Aldrich gallery. The lumpy shell of the cozy echoes the once destructive nature of the missile, and renders the otherwise insidious object familiar and inert. Distorting our sense of order by wrapping the missile in its own cozy, Demaray explores the way our expectations of objects can affect our perceptions of the visual world.
Elizabeth Demaray has exhibited nationally and is the recipient of a 2001 National Studio Award from P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. She received her MFA from UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice and has studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

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