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Elizabeth Klein

Elizabeth Klein

The Midwestern United States is also known as the Corn Belt because of its large production of the cash crop. My artwork is designed to offer viewers a closer look into the ubiquitous, strangely yellow crop and its importance in our everyday lives.


I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois, surrounded by corn fields. I always heard people say similar things about the place we all lived in, their tones filled with boredom. My life and the lives of my family members have relied on corn production for generations. I wondered, where did we as people lose touch with this amazing crop? I decided to challenge this standard line of thinking by creating art that explores corn’s unique qualities. The work explores often overlooked facts and information in order to spark the viewer’s curiosity.


I usually avoid direct motifs of corn in the work, instead relying on the use of color and form to represent the crop. Feed corn and most varieties of sweet corn are yellow to white, which is why I chose these hues. The repetition of forms alludes to the repeated nature of the kernels on an ear of corn. In some pieces, I incorporate other materials to better represent the unique characteristics of corn, such as thread. The thread functions as a depiction of a physical part of a corn plant, and familial or agricultural roots in my personal experience. The hexagon is a recurring motif, symbolizing both nature and science, as it is a shape that appears in both contexts. It serves as a simple structure for me to build my forms and concept upon.


My work is meant to serve as a platform for viewers to reflect on corn and its significance. Contemplating this mundane crop and the families that dedicate their lives to its production.

*Titles referencing Paul Harvey’s, ‘So God Made a Farmer’ speech, 1978.

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