Lillian Etlinger

(Northampton, Massachusetts)

Humans have always built structures to fit their various needs using available materials including but not limited to tree branches, clay, mud, cement, stone, plaster, and steel. I am inspired by the natural world and how natural materials are manipulated to form spaces for people. I use recycled materials from old structures and found objects to recreate new forms. 

These two sculptures, Building Roots and A Lobster’s New York Penthouse, represent the ubiquity of architecture in our natural world. Taking on the form of a Stonehenge arch, Building Roots is inspired by early- stage architecture and sculpture. Built from scavenged wood from various dumpster yards and residential housing job sites in Provincetown and Truro, Massachusetts, Building Roots is an homage to the area where I first fell in love with art and architecture. 

A Lobster’s New York Penthouse is a tongue-in-cheek example of how buildings and structures are designed. Buildings are built from the ground up, yet the higher you go, the more luxurious and expensive the rooms on floors become.  We see this “built from the ground up” system everywhere: in the food pyramid, where our fats and oils are at the top and our strong carbs are at the bottom, and even in the socioeconomic structure where the working class falls at the base and a small percentage of the country’s most wealthy sits at the top. Humans tend to forget where things in their lives start: so what if we started treating the “ground floor” the same way we treat the “penthouses”?