Some of my earliest childhood memories are of the fresh fruit and produce grown locally in Florida: bruised and scratched, flavorful and juicy. In contrast, I am now living in a city that offers only perfect rows of waxed fruit under fluorescent supermarket lights, while produce with blemishes are relegated to the dumpster as inedible. Once home, I feel pressure to consume what I've bought before a speck of mold or soft bruise appears. I feel guilty that I sometimes buy more than I will eat and, over days, I watch it mold or shrivel. Allaying this guilt, I started laying this food on top of my digital flatbed scanner. The images produced show how organic material, vibrant and nourishing, decays in an equally beautiful way. This intimate look, magnified to a level that connotes anatomy, can bring both disgust and pleasure. The limited depth and focus granted by the scanner allowed me to see the literal subject – skin, mold, fiber – and simultaneously appreciate a more abstract view – color, texture, pattern – as form emerges from and recedes into darkness. In the past year, I have extended this project to other objects on their natural journey toward decay. Milkweed pods, flowers, and plant parts have found their way into this ever-growing collection. After three years, I have yet to grow tired of this project; in fact, studying the ways in which these natural objects decay has only become more interesting. Lastly, I must thank my roommates for their tolerance of the sights and smells of these studies.

about the artist

Liz Wuerffel

Elizabeth Wuerffel is an interdisciplinary artist working in photography, digital imaging, video, and performance.

Born in Marco Island, Florida, Wuerffel has traveled extensively throughout her life, receiving her BA at Valparaiso University, working in Kazakhstan, and returning to the states to work in alternative transportation advocacy and obtain her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago.

Since living in Chicago, she has collaborated on a number of projects including a video shown in London and California for V1B3 Summer06, an experimental documentary through Meta House in Phnom Penh, and performances for the Chicago Cultural Center's Site Unseen and Links Hall's Drive By Performance Series. Wuerffel currently splits her time between Chicago and Beijing, where she teaches for Valparaiso University.