Elizabeth Di Donna


I am continually reminded of our primary relationship with the earth and our kinship with it. My recent work describes a longing to be closer to the land and involves physically immersing myself in nature. This desire comes from living in highly industrialized surroundings — observing the decaying remnants of industry and the past attempts at a structured society that didn’t work.

My investigation began with a fascination with clay: what it is, where it comes from and why we use it. I am interested in the tactile experience that initially begins with digging up the earth and ends with an object that traditionally comes in contact with the body. Its wide ranging characteristics from soft, malleable clay to hard, stable ceramic remind me of our own inherent nature as vulnerable yet enduring.

Exploring this physical relationship with the earth has gone from creating objects to developing photographs, performances and installations that show the body making contact with nature through the conduit of clay. The clay relates a visceral experience as it presses, covers, binds, cracks and disintegrates.

The work revolves around an awareness of time, feelings, sensations and the details of the physical world, brought about through symbolic representations, invented landscapes and dreamlike consciousness. Being the performer or subject allows me to temporarily escape from the confines of culture into nature. These are personal explorations that ultimately become cathartic — releasing the tensions and frustrations of living in a confused and chaotic society while expressing the ecstasy and euphoria of experiencing a sensuously beautiful world.


Liz DiDonna received her MFA from FSU in 2013 and was awarded the Florence Teaching Award to teach studio art courses in Florence, Italy. She has presented work in local and national venues including NCECA and SECAC conferences, Art Basel Miami and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Liz currently teaches studio courses at FSU and was a 2013 artist-in-residence at 621 Gallery.