George Morrison Gallery | January 26–April 3, 2022
Beth Livensperger’s large-scale collages depict women navigating the banal yet psychologically-charged space of office interiors, foregrounding female relationships across generations, from adversarial to supportive. In these pieces, receptionists are trapped behind tiny desks, a lone employee drowns in paperwork, and a manager delivers bad news to a subordinate. Men are relegated to bit parts—with visible hints that they still call the shots.
Livensperger’s installation for the Morrison Gallery functions as a whole, creating a layered visual and narrative experience. Formal qualities mimic the constriction of bureaucratic systems. Repetition of items, such as potted plants or chairs, nods to the temporal invariability of work rhythms, the dreary ‘rinse-repeat’ of the 9-to-5 routine. An oversized clock hangs over the installation’s characters, signaling both hurry and boredom. Flattened forms and isometric perspective function as metaphors for behavioral restrictions, while pattern echoes the impersonal logic that defines office space. The full effect conjures a psychological experience, rather than a literal event. The work’s black and white palette recalls past decades, “simpler times” during which much of society upheld the standards of an unjust system.
Originally from the Midwest, Beth Livensperger holds a BFA from The Cooper Union and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University. She has exhibited at venues in NYC, widely throughout the US, and in Seoul, Korea.
Image Credit: Beth Livensperger, "Your Mother Does Not Work Here"
Virtual Artist Talk (0:00-26:00)
The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible in part through the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2018.