NATURE HAS ALWAYS BEEN Liz Sexton’s biggest inspiration and source of solace. In recent years, she has countered feelings of increasing disconnection from the natural world with her singular, fantastical paper mâché sculptures. Her incredibly realistic creations are an exploration and celebration of our fellow animals with whom we share the Earth. Using repurposed materials, such as old packing supplies and discarded brown bags, Sexton builds each piece from hundreds to thousands of paper strips, slowly shaping them until a character emerges.
Knowing that most inhabitants of our planet face an existential threat from climate change, habitat loss, and displacement driven by humans, much of her work highlights an inevitable sense of out-of-placeness, which she tries to approach with curiosity and humor. The result is tender and utterly charming. (Think manatees at the laundry mat, otters on the train, and iguanas at the bodega, photographed by her partner/collaborator Ben Toht.) Both artist and viewer are left with a deepened appreciation for these animals, and a bit of reverence, too.