Estate of Mind
Estate of Mind is a physical manifestation of the inner work the artist has been doing over the last two years. As the world changed around us all, Richter began working harder to prioritize her mental health, while soul searching and re-examining her priorities, faith and identity. As an artist known for her murals on the streets of Louisville, Liz Richter asked herself how she could take a street art approach in an interior gallery space. Richter has always loved painting installations that have unusual, site-specific challenges like pipes running down a wall, or an oddly placed gas meter. These obstructions allow her to work intuitively, forcing her to prostrate around windows and doors to integrate her design on pre-existing forms and structures.
Translating her usual process to a smaller scale and new environment came in the form of the artist’s favorite pastime: wandering through thrift stores and estate sales. Richter approaches the transformation of household tools and tchotchkes with the irreverence and joy of street art, seeing everyday objects through the lens of her inner dialogue. In a whittled folk art sculpture, Richter saw a reflection of painful memories. A relief sculpture of a mother and child brought her back to quarantined homeschooling. A worn-out wallet and skillet mimicked her mental exhaustion. A fireplace mantle became a contemplation on the hearth as a symbol of feminine restraint and domesticity. Object names became action verbs; double meanings and even puns emerged. Richter drew from the pop-psychology memes and reels inundating social media; the gentle ways we mock ourselves to lighten up hard truths.
Consistent and meditative throughout the work are floral motifs that Richter often uses in her murals, her own dialect of “The Secret Language of Flowers.” The various blooms reference literature like Jane Eyre and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” while other flowers represent memories and characteristics of loved ones. Some works were created through automatism, as the object's characteristics guided the resulting composition. Creating each piece always came about as a conversation between the object and the artist’s subconscious mind.
By placing these objects and their subsequent thoughts inside a home estate sale, Richter postures them to be tidied from her own mind. They represent a deep, invasive mental decluttering after a death of expectations. Estate of Mind invites viewers to walk through the space with the same awkward intimacy that comes from rummaging through an elderly lady’s forgotten polyester blazers in her closet by placing objects and their subsequent thoughts inside a “home estate sale”. Our gallery has become a room of Liz's own, and for the first time, her thoughts are for sale.