Erin Eleniak earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Northridge in 2018, followed by a Master of Arts degree from the same institution in 2020. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bernice Haber Award for Ceramics (2018), the Valerie & Stephen Svec 3D/Ceramics Scholarship (2019), and the Art Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Female Artist (2020). She is currently a Masters of Fine Arts candidate at University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design, due to graduate in May 2022.
Drawing on her experiences growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Eleniak explores the mythologies that construct the character of the Western landscape. She cites the limits of her traditional, faith-based elementary education as a driving force in her desire to challenge the oppressive systems at the heart of the American Dream.
Investigating our relationships to place and acknowledging the dissonance between lived experiences and their historical and popular representations, her work finds its locus within these information gaps, revealing temporal collisions between the ephemeral and geologic. Environmental anxieties and a penchant for questioning assimilated knowledge impels her exploration of contested landscapes through the materials, objects, and cultural mythologies that construct them.
Her interdisciplinary practice considers cast-off objects and materials and their functions in place- and memory-making. With a background in ceramics, she works with a broad range of media including clay, photography, drawing, video, and installation. By mining various sources for cultural dumping that encompass a vast range from Craigslist to roadside litter, Eleniak’s work provides viewers with a platform to generate thought-provoking questions related to land use, contamination, and accepted truths. relationships to the environments we inhabit.
Recent group exhibitions include In Cahoots: Artists and Curators at USC Roski, at UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills, CA and the California State University, Northridge 2020 thesis exhibition, Graduate Exhibition 2020, online at yngspc.com. She has installed two solo exhibitions, Souvenir (2020), and Archive, Current (2019). She took part in Blinky the Friendly Hen: 40th Anniversary, a 2019 Jeffrey Vallance retrospective and co-exhibition. In her leadership role as CSUN Ceramics Guild president, she also curated an exhibition of student work for Curiosities + Investigations.
Erin Eleniak has gained multiple years of experience as a ceramic studio technician and teaching assistant to Professor of Art, Patsy Cox (CSUN, 2017-2020). As a studio tech, she was responsible for equipment operation and maintenance and formulation of materials for use by students. In her teaching assistantship, she prepared demonstrations, led class discussions, and provided creative and technical guidance to students with varying levels of art experience. Additionally, she was a volunteer artist assistant to Walter McConnell, preparing his work for the 2018 exhibition, Melting Point: Movements in Contemporary Clay at Los Angeles’ Craft Contemporary Museum.