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Elizabeth Mackie


Why is the ocean referred to as “she?” It is thought that this reference came from sailors missing their women. Yet, this association of female imagery with the sea has a much longer history. In Greek and Roman mythology, dangerous but beautiful Sirens and Greek and Roman sea deities lured mariners with their enchantments. Mermaids appear in British folklore as unlucky omens and Phoenician and Egyptian tales portrayed female gods helping or hindering humans in their struggles with the sea. SHE-SEA follows this tradition and takes this powerful influence over a sailor’s world, the sea, as a metaphor for the women in his life and his fantasies and dreams. But, like the ocean, the females in his life may have contradictory qualities – beautiful but dangerous, calm but turbulent, supportive but unpredictable.

SHE-SEA recreates the fantasy world of a sailor’s dreams as he encounters the allure, mysteries and furor of the ocean. A space once lined with hammocks holding sleeping men rocking to the rhythm of the ship moving on the waves, is transformed by an installation combining video projection, sound, and draped fabric. Projected images, fused with vocal interpretations of the sounds of the sea, immerse the viewer into a different kind of sailor’s world.  This sailor, living in the company of 429 men, desires a feminine presence as he looks out over the ocean, and dreams.

Video/Fiber Installation: Elizabeth Mackie
Sound Installation: Kaitlyn Paston

About the Artist


Elizabeth Mackie is an interdisciplinary artist working in book arts, installations, sculpture, photography, video, and sound. Her works addresses issues of the interface between science and art, interpretations of history, literature and tales as metaphors, and concepts of beauty and personal identity.

She has been awarded fellowships including:  2012 Individual Artist Fellowship in Photography, New Jersey State Council on the Arts; numerous residency awards from Women’s Studio Workshop; Center for New Media, Frankfurt, Germany; Mid-Atlantic Regional Media Arts Fellowship; Center for Technology Studies, NJ Institute of Technology; and Mid-Atlantic Media Artist Fellowship. She received grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; National Science Foundation; three awards from Philadelphia Sculptors; and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Elizabeth’s independent video productions have been screened internationally, broadcast nationally and purchased by WHYY, Philadelphia. Her productions have received awards from The 10th Annual Philadelphia International Film and Video Festival; Dance on Camera, NYC; Women in the Directors Chair, Chicago; International Film and TV festival of NY, TV Programs; and Herland III Film and Video Festival, NY.

Elizabeth has exhibited her work in various institutions throughout the United States and abroad, including Australia, England, Canada and Germany. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include: Fiberart International 2016, IAPMA (The International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists), Complesso San Benedetto, the Museum of Paper and Watermark, Fabriano, Italy; Personal Histories– International Artist Book Exhibition, Redland Museum, Australia; WARP AND WOOF, Solo, Next Gallery, NJ; Catagenesis, Globe Dye Works, Philadelphia; Sculptural and Artist Books, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia;  Global Warming at the Icebox, Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia; Art in the Open, Philadelphia; Women’s Work, Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY; Sculpture, PPG Wintergarden, Pittsburgh; and State of the Art, A Mid-Atlantic Overview, Arlington Art Center, Arlington, VA. She was just published in Paper Art, 261 International Artists, IAPMA, Germany and 500 Paper Objects, Lark/Sterling publishers.