Elizabeth R. Agte (pronounced ahg-tee) is a jewelry artist and designer
based in Rochester, New York. Since 1985, she has run a jewelry studio
where she also teaches classes and makes mixed media sculptures. The
galleries that have carried her work over the past decade include The
Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, Mindscape Gallery in Evanston, Walker
Art Center in Minneapolis, Craft Company #6 in Rochester, and Fireworks
Gallery in Seattle.
Incorporating a wide range of materials, her work has been described
as architectural, Southwestern, and pagan. Her early work was primarily
geometric, with Art Deco references, and though her work still retains
classical lines, the icons and symbols present in recent work reflect
Elizabeth's interest in the cultural and spiritual use of jewelry historically.
A dedication to recycling has found its logical conclusion though the
years in jewelry designed around computer panels, antique dominoes,
airplane parts, buttons, and human hair.
She has been working extensively with "Precious Metal Clay".
She teaches workshops in PMC all over the western New York area including
the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Genesee Pottery, the Schweinfurth
Memorial Art Center and at various high schools. In 2000, she received
a grant for her work in PMC, and was published in the Fall 2000 PMC
Guild Newsletter. Another grant in the summer of 2002 funded her attendance
at the First PMC conference in Wooster, Ohio.
A Colorado native, Elizabeth's use of tarnished copper, patinated silver,
and semi-precious stones such as black onyx, lapis and carnelian, agate
and jasper reflect her roots in the American West. Originally a ceramicist,
her transition from clay to metal was an inevitable evolution. A successful
line of ceramic pins led her back to her college alma mater, the State
University of New York at Brockport, where under the instruction of
Albert Paley and Thomas Markusen she learned the techniques necessary
to adapt her ideas to metal.
A collaborative mixed media project in 1996, that received a grant
for its installation, gave birth to a whole new body of on-going work.
The exhibit entitled "Pin Money: A Notion of Allowances,"
explored the use of money as a sexually symbolic gesture. Since then
Elizabeth has created two first place award-winning sculptures "Playing
by the Rules... You can't get there from here," and "Shrine
to the $1000 Tooth," as well as a corporate commission for Weyerhauser
Corporation in Seattle, WA.
Elizabeth was involved in the worldwide 100 Heroines Project in 1997-98.
She designed and created over 1000 lapel pins for the project, one of
which was presented to Hillary Clinton in Belfast, Ireland.
Elizabeth makes regular pilgrimages to the citywide Tucson Gem Show,
the largest gem show in the world. As a result, her work has been enhanced
by the wide variety of hand-cut stones and fossils that are impossible
to fine elsewhere.
Her mixed media piece entitled "Elizabeth-the-Artist Paper Dolls"
was exhibited in the "Sixteen Twenty" show at the Center for
the High Falls Gallery, in Rochester, New York. Another mixed media
piece " You Are Here" was exhibited in the "Made in New
York" exhibit at Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, in Auburn, NY,
and at an Alumni Exhibit at SUNY Brockport.
Recently, her work has grown to compass slightly larger pieces as a
result of her addiction for collecting furniture from the curb, including
copper drawer pulls, furniture accents, copper house numbers, mirror
and frame enhancements, corner embellishments. In progress, chess and
game pieces in PMC.
Locally, Elizabeth is actively involved with the Arts and Cultural Council
of Rochester, the Rochester Contemporary, Rochester Lapidary Society,
and the Neighborhood of the Arts.