Liz Ruest is a Canadian artist who’s been living in the Seattle area since 1989. She grew up in rural Ontario, near the national capital, Ottawa, surrounded by farmland but with easy access to the National Gallery and its excellent Group of Seven collection. Brought to the West Coast by technology, she stayed for the weather, mountains, and water. Moving west, and across the border, was a subtle, but significant change, and suddenly her French-Canadian genealogy and love of the long horizon became touchpoints to connect with home. Explorations in printmaking, photography, and encaustic layering became a way to build up a story of fragments of her life, and to abstract it to the immigrant’s journey.
Her work investigates our surroundings and how they interact with memory, permanence, change, and regrowth. How do we process our sense of place and the collective memories that go with it, even as it changes? What of all the people before us who’ve stood in the same place — did they also wonder whether they were here to stay? By capturing images and layering collage elements, she creates abstracted viewpoints that explore timelessness, familiarity, and recognition. Individual photographs, very specific to a time and place, are obscured by layers of paper and texture, asking you to come along on a journey of recognition as we all try to find our place in the world.