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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Elizabeth Duffy

Providence, RI

Elizabeth Duffy is a multidisciplinary artist whose work engages practices of process-based drawing, installation, sculpture and photo. Her work is influenced by feminist art, an itinerant way of life, and the confluence of art with everyday life. Duffy has exhibited work at the Drawing Center, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, White Columns, Dartmouth College’s Strauss Gallery, Pentimenti Gallery, Dam Stuhltrager Gallery, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Nikolai Fine Art, Holland Tunnel Gallery, Wave Hill, The Islip Museum, raw & co. Gallery, Hunter College Leubsdorf Gallery and Muriel Guepin Gallery. In 2013, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant at the Bard Graduate Center to research American Material Culture in 19th Century New York. She has held residencies at the Bogliasco Foundation/Liguria Center for the Arts and Humanities in Bogliasco, Italy (2012), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on Governors Island (2012), the Corporation of Yaddo, where she was awarded the Louise Bourgeois Residency (2010, 2000), the MacDowell Colony (2005, 2004. 2003, 2002), the Vermont Studio Center (1997), and Ragdale (2004, 2003). She is also the recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, where she was Felisssimo Honoree (2001), the Pollock Krasner Foundation (2001), and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (2010). Duffy’s work is in the collections of Deutsche Bank, Fidelity Investments, the Heard Museum, Dartmouth College Rauner Special Collections Library, and in numerous private collections. Her work has been written about in The New York Times, Art News, Art on Paper, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, and many other publications. She received her MFA from CUNY Brooklyn College and studied art at the New York Studio School, Hunter College and Rutgers College. She lives and works in Providence, RI and teaches in the Art Department at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

Feminist Artist Statement

I am currently creating a series of quilts and embroidered samplers from aerial views of prisons and fabric printed with security envelope patterns. Traditional quilt patterns have much in common with the shapes used in prison design: they are often symmetrical and use blocks of repeating geometric shapes that radiate outward from a central axis. Windmill and hexagonal patterns, fan quilts and radiating circle quilt patterns all evoke plans used in the design of prisons. In the 19th century British philosopher Jeremy Bentham introduced the panopticon, a central space from which a watcher could observe prisoners without being seen. This invention kept the incarcerated under a constant state of perceived surveillance to instill a sense of paranoia and behavior regulation. The panopticon continues to be used in contemporary design in prisons. Pods, or circular building of cells, allow for unimpeded sight lines and the addition of more pods as prison populations increase. Pod design has formal similarities with the many varieties of repeating circles in quilt design. Quilts immediately bring to mind ideas of home and security, of communities and their histories and of labor and women’s work. As heirlooms they carry on narratives that are otherwise forgotten. By making works that meld homespun process with information hidden from the public sphere, I am drawing attention to our society’s increasing erosion of private space.

<p>In Memory of Kalief Browder, 2016</p>

In Memory of Kalief Browder, 2016

Plan of Rikers Island in pulled fabric, printed with security envelope pattern, bedding 6’ x 8’, the size of a solitary confinement cell at Rikers Island

In Memory of Kalief Browder, 2016

Plan of Rikers Island in pulled fabric, printed with security envelope pattern, bedding 6’ x 8’, the size of a solitary confinement cell at Rikers Island

Maximum Security, Installation View with Alphabet Quilt

Each letter is made from an aerial view of a US funded prison, and In Memory of Kalief Browder, Fabrics printed with security envelope patterns, uniforms and bedding, over wallpaper printed with bank issued security pattern, 2016

Maximum Security: Spike Island, 2015

Uniforms, Calico, beddings, buttons and fabric Printed with Security Envelope Patterns from Banks 75 x 60 inches, King Size

Spike Island is a star shaped fort in Ireland that was used as a prison.

Apartment 2B

The entire gallery was transformed into an upscale urban apartment using security envelope patterned furniture, wallpaper and objects.

Security Envelope Drawing


A Site-Specific installation created for the Hamilton Gallery at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island in 2012. The gallery is housed is what was formerly a carriage house for a mansion. The artist found a derelict 19th century Merrimac Carriage (c. 1888) on Craigslist and restored it using security envelope patterns.



Providence, RI



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