VisArts Studio Fellowship: Liz Lessner

A Block and Tackle of Lures, Reels, and Rods, 2013, wood, sound-biters, micro-controllers, ICs, leather, buckles, and for-ton, 12′ x 5′ x 2.5′

My objects and installations use sensory perception to reframe interpersonal interactions. They combine traditional sculpture materials with embedded electronics to create multi-sensory experiences that are sometimes interactive. These works stems from a framing of resonant gestures that ritualize and familiarize psychological narratives and personal memories.  These objects consider social feedback loops, popular narratives of desire, as well as mythology and nostalgia and the fetishism that both imply. They explore negotiations of power and status, authenticity and performance, and preconscious affinities and desires through forms that unsettle and attract.  By repeating and reframing iconic gestures these works find new ways of representing and experiencing the ephemeral psychological and spatial dynamics of interacting with others. They seduce through materials and form, prompt consideration through user experience and sensorial awareness, and create, as Nigel Thrift says, ‘new and more productive entanglements’ by activating sticky and paradoxical spaces of negotiation and intimacy.

Artist Bio: Liz Lessner is a sculptor and installation artist whose work combines traditional fabrication techniques and emerging technologies to create sensory experiences that reframe common occurrences and routine encounters. Lessner has had solo shows at Honfleur Gallery in Washington, D.C.; Big Orbit, a Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts Project Space in Buffalo, NY; and The University at Buffalo Visual Studies Gallery in Buffalo, NY. She has exhibited her sculptures and installations nationally and internationally including the Guapamacátaro Center for Art and Ecology in Michoacán, Mexico, A.I.R. gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and Everard Read’s Circa Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa. She has an MFA in Media Study from the University at Buffalo. Her research into embedded electronics ability to create novel sensory experiences has been supported by grants like the Mark Diamond Research Fund, fellowships like the Eyeo Artists Fellowship, and awards like a 2019 Fulbright Research Award to Brazil.


The Sensory Engagement Lab fosters collaborations between performers, artists, technologist, and other thinkers to produce interactive and experimental art works. The SEL is part thought experiment, part collaborative making session, part research lab. We look at how novel combinations of materials and embedded electronics contribute to sensory experience.

The Sensory Engagement  Lab holds bi-monthly meetings on Tuesday nights from 7-9pm.

At our meetings we share projects and topics of interest, talk about current work, and collaboratively problem solve technical and design issues.



About the VisArts Studio Fellowship: The VisArts Studio Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a dynamic individual artist or collaborative artist team to create a new body of work, evolve an existing body of work, or develop a project in a stimulating, supportive environment over a six month period. Studio space is provided free of charge. Artists receive a $500.00 per month stipend. The Studio Fellowship offers the gift of time and space to two artists and/or collaborative artist teams each year to experiment and realize new work. The VisArts Studio Fellows will present their work in solo exhibitions at the end of their respective fellowships.

Learn more about the VisArts Studio Fellowship.