Elizabeth A Jabar

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Artist Statement

Making prints and objects is a process of reclamation and a search for connections. Through the labor intensive methods of drawing, carving, printing, dying paper, cutting shapes, and assembling forms I enter into a extended dialog with my images. The simple materials- ink, paper, wax, and thread are fashioned and transformed into tactile environments that conjure multilayered narratives and lead us away from the ordinary.

The stories I tell coalesce the human and the divine and attempt to reconcile opposites, ephemeral/eternal, and life/death. The unfolding sequence of a book and the reiterations of image from print to print do not depict a specific, particular occurrence, but evoke a story through a series of symbolic statements. Multiple configurations of threads, lines, and cords are passages to abstract, unfolding regions, while cyclical patterns and geometrical ornaments mark transitions between material and spiritual realms. Working from page to page I carefully align these potent signs, patterns, and colors that help to transmit the histories embedded within the forms and figures. Images of women, nature, pattern motifs, and symbols seem to come from disparate sources, but there is a common thread that I clearly recognize, it’s just hard to define. In this time of deliberation, sifting through images and arranging fragments, I question and reflect upon the complexities and richness of my cultural identity, and hope to get closer to its source.


Elizabeth A. Jabar is a print based artist whose hybrid works on paper explore ideas of ethnicity and heritage. Her printed assemblages and artists’ books display a highly personal visual language that incorporates cultural motifs from folk art, religious traditions and textiles. Her practice also encompasses collaborative endeavors and social practice projects with her students and colleagues, including her recent project Future Mothers, which launched at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Portland, Maine in 2012. Future Mothers is a collective vision/structure /practice that takes the form of prints, installation, books, and interactive performance. Using printmaking as a platform, Future Mothers construct objects, structures, and environments for communicating timeless narratives and responding to contemporary social­political events.

Jabar’s work is in the collections of Pratt Institute, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Tides Institute, Maine Arts Commission, Amity Arts Foundation, New York Public Library and Print Zero Studios. Her work was recently published in Maine Art New and 50/ 50 A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking. Jabar has also won grants and awards including a fellowship residency at Vermont Studio Center and a Good Idea Grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Elizabeth is the Assistant Dean and Director of Public Engagement at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, where she also serves as Associate Professor and Chair of the Printmaking Program. She received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, Massachusetts and her MFA degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Her works have been shown at galleries and museums nationally and internationally, including Victoria Arts Connection, Victoria, BC, Canada, Red Gher Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Women Networking, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Pyramid Atlantic, Rhode Island School of Design, Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, Montserrat College, Colby College Museum of Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, University of New England, The College of the Atlantic, La Jolla Fiber Arts, La Jolla California, Print Zero Studios, Seattle, Washington, Brighthill Press, Treadwell, New York, Hunter College, New York and The Center for Book Arts, New York, NY.