Tucked into the corner of the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is a portal to another world. Los Angeles-based artist Erika Lizée tailored this three-dimensional painting specifically to the site, making it look as though a fantastical image is suspended in front of the walls. The inspiration for this surreal work of art comes from Lizée's interest in numbers and the interconnectedness of the world.
Titled Seed of Life, the massive installation is rendered in a limited blue color palette. It looks as though a chain of swirls is flowing in or maybe out of an opening in the wall, leaving room for many interpretations by the viewer. Either way, it gives off a distinct impression of the fantastical. “I imagine gallery walls as thresholds between different realms or states of existence, between the visible and the invisible, between this physical plane we inhabit and otherworldly planes beyond our awareness,” she tells My Modern Met. “The use of illusion in my work is important, as it gives rise to simultaneous feelings of wonder and uncertainty in viewers.”
Lizée has been studying numbers and sacred geometry since 2016, prompting a series of paintings based on each number. Seed of Life, for instance, is inspired by the number six, which Lizée highlights by including six overlapping circles. “The uniqueness and importance of each number can be found throughout time and across cultures, spanning the principles of math and science and the beliefs of myth and religion,” she says. “For many of us, there is an ever-present urge for transcendence, going beyond the mundane to experience the sublime.”
You can see the Seed of Life at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Mesa, Arizona, until August 6, 2023. Be sure to follow Lizée on Instagram to keep up to date with her latest pieces.