Elisa Soliven


Pair, pencil, charcoal, oil pastel on paper, 12×18 inches, 2022, $500
Pair, pencil, charcoal, oil pastel on paper, 9 x 12 inches, 2022, $500

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Elisa Soliven, born in New York City, lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received an
M.F.A. from Hunter College and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College. She has shown at
Nudashank, Baltimore, MD; Sardine, Brooklyn, NY; Present Company, Brooklyn, NY;
Deanna Evans Projects, Brooklyn, NY; LABspace, Hillsdale, NY; The Reinstitute,
Millerton, NY; Arts & Leisure, NYC; Crush Curatorial, NYC; and Andrew Rafacz,
Chicago, IL; among others. She has had solo exhibitions at John Davis Gallery,
Hudson, NY; Sunday Takeout, Brooklyn, NY; Essex Flowers, NYC, and Hesse Flatow,
NYC. She is a co-founder of the Bushwick based artist collective Underdonk.

My latest series are figurative that also suggest geological formations. Each contains
particular idiosyncrasies that individuate from the mass while still embodying a group
togetherness. I started including gray because of its neutrality. Working from memory,
these pieces resemble parts of a figure Through several transformations, I then move
into material and formal creation. This body of work is painted in various shades of
blues, earth tones, and grays, with the mosaic like modules bringing color to the

Currently my works are flat, square, and planar even though there’s both rough and
smooth texture. I add irregular pieces of fired clay that I then build the piece around and
meld into new multifarious structures. This almost archaeological method often
determines the shape because I am working with unique pieces that have their own
distinct forms. I unify them together into a whole, using the square and the grid, transforming them into a singular, unified yet irregular body that conjures both man-
made and geologic formations.

My sculptures serve as a recorded inquiry in capturing the talismanic essence of the
human figure and more abstract connotations of love, loss, and being human. Working
with clay simultaneously retains an immediacy with which conveys the hands-on
working process, captures a sense of wonder in the ordinary and ultimately, preserves a
frozen, reimagined history. Transfiguring these quotidian monuments through
archaeological accumulation of modeled layers of clay and embedded ceramic, the
familiar becomes a vessel for personal mythologies, social commentaries, and universal