Minneapolis-based artist Liz Sexton creates intricate paper-mâché sculptures, puppets, and objects inspired by the natural world. Papier-mâché comes from French and it means mashed paper, refers to the composite material used in the art. It consists of pulpy paper pieces sometimes reinforced with textile and bound with glue, starch, or wallpaper paste. It’s an art form that is also used as an economical building material for various ceremonial activities, it has been around since 200 BC.
“I make paper-mâché sculptures inspired by the natural world. Most everything I create is meant to be interacted with, whether masks, puppets, or simply objects—they’re all intended to be worn, held, or touched,” said Sexton.
Sexton started focusing on animal masks a few years ago. After a few Halloween costumes, she realized how much people actually connect with her work: “With the wearer concealed under a larger-than-life mask, it becomes as much a human with an animal head as an animal with a human body—a very interesting thing to interact with,” explained Sexton.
“I often work on threatened species, particularly sea creatures, and photograph the masks worn in very human habits, highlighting the displacement that many creatures are currently experiencing,” elaborated the artist. “I also work on more common animals that we might share our surroundings with but don’t necessarily notice or engage with. Presented on a human scale, they share our world, becoming visible members of our communities.“
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