Elizabeth Ernst: Smoke & Mirrors November 5 — December 31, 2010

In 2005, Elizabeth Ernst introduced Chicagoans to The G.E Circus  - a cast of circus characters she sculpted with polymer clay, photographed, printed on black & white linen paper, and then finished with acrylic paint. Once complete, she wrote their biographies which were hung alongside each piece, giving voice to her imagined entertainers. The show combined her love for storytelling, sculpture, painting and photography, addressing various social issues associated with the circus.

Five years later, Ernst presents Smoke & Mirrors, a continuation of her deep commitment to the people who work in the circus. In her newest works, Ernst photographs figures she created from clay and scrap metal, and combines them with images she took at traveling circuses, going behind the tents and inside the trailers to reveal the lives behind the faces who entertain the public.

Whether real or imagined, Elizabeth Ernst creates a world which relies on disbelief and suspended reality. Behind the make-up and costumes are real people whose lives often belie the people they portray. It is this duality – the public persona vs the private persona – that Smoke & Mirrors examines, reminding us that people usually reveal what they want us to know, and often the truth lies elsewhere.

Elizabeth Ernst is a tenured Associate Professor in the photography department at Columbia College Chicago.

Images vary in size. Pieces range in price from $2800 to $6500.

Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces.
Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.

Elizabeth Ernst
After the Card Game, 2010

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Elizabeth Ernst
Clown Alley, 2010

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Elizabeth Ernst
Concession Stand, 2008

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Elizabeth Ernst
Dickie the Bird Boy, 2008

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Elizabeth Ernst
Dickie the Bird Boy, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Ernst
Frank, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Ernst
Knuckles, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Ernst
Knuckles & Lillian, 2010

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Elizabeth Ernst
Lillian, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Ernst
Lillian's Dressing Room, 2009

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Elizabeth Ernst
Loretta, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Ernst
Lost and Found, 2008

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Elizabeth Ernst
Madame X, The Fortune Teller, 2009

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Elizabeth Ernst
Photomatic, 2010

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Elizabeth Ernst
Rose, 2010

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Elizabeth Ernst
Rose, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Ernst
Sideshow Performer, 2010

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Elizabeth Ernst
Stella, 2010
Elizabeth Ernst
Stella By Starlight, 2010
Elizabeth Ernst
Study for Concession Stand, 2003-2008
Elizabeth Ernst
Study for Madame X, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Ernst
Study for The Second Show, Elmer, OK, 2010
Elizabeth Ernst
The G.E Circus Installation, 2004
Elizabeth Ernst
The G.E Circus Installation (detail), 2004
Elizabeth Ernst
The G.E Circus Installation (detail), 2004
Elizabeth Ernst
The Outside Talker, 2009
Elizabeth Ernst
The Second Show, Elmer, OK, 2010

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