Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Liv Aanrud earned her B.F.A with a painting emphasis from the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire in 2001 and an M.F.A from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2011. She has taught at ARTworks Charter School, at Santa Barbara City College, and was awarded a teaching fellowship at Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena.
Aanrud’s work has been the subject of one person exhibitions at New Image Art, Arvia, 1700 Naud, and TSA-LA in Los Angeles. She has also had solo shows at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, NV, John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY, Oasis Gallery, Marquette, MI, and Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York City. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions across the U.S., Taiwan, Germany, and Spain. Liv has an upcoming solo exhibition in Lillehammer, Norway. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Informed largely by the language of painting, and constructed through the traditional folk method of rag rug hooking used by her grandmother; Aanrud’s work is at once a slowly stitched drawing and a labyrinthine map of the act of thinking.
“Time becomes tactile, ticked up in a stitch. I set about a familiar rhythm where my scurrying mind can find rest through work. A like is cut, felt, held and pulled through a grid of burlap. A figure forms from this slow draw—conjured from below the surface. It is not quite me, but maybe—in the curve of an arm, length of hand, or tilt of cheek. I keep a side eye on this ….nude, mostly seeing through feeling the way one does in the dark when navigating the soft sculpture of a person’s body. My hands hold onto this tangle of tapestry and I study the faces I’ve made, “Hey, I’ve seen that look before!” Perhaps these women are versions of me—emotional states given physical form. They are allegories that depict certain dualities—at once placid and anxious, beautiful and treacherous.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in the arts.
I’m from New Hope, a rural township in Wisconsin, right in the middle of the state. It’s downright bucolic: farm fields with fire burst sunsets, fat chickens, satisfied cats, the geese flock in happy face formation, and you can catch a fish with your bare hand in any lake. A bald eagle winked at me the last time I was home, I swear. I went to college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin where I studied painting, then later, grad school at Rutgers in New Jersey. I now live in Los Angeles in a sweet little neighborhood called Solano Canyon.
What kind of work are you currently making?
I weave tapestries that often have a painting element in them--let’s call them fabric paintings. I’ve been doing this rag rug hooking technique primarily for about the last 10 years, and recently bought a tufting gun so look out. Over the years I have pivoted between figurative and abstract. They are all somehow portraits of my mind or body. I’ve been making wearable pieces in anticipation of performance and video work. Lately, I’ve been making smaller work –tufted animals and plants that I’m trying to sell at a price point that is affordable to a wider audience. I have a show coming up next year in Norway and I want to work with all of these variations…painting, weaving, performance, plants and animals into a big installation.
What is a day like in the studio for you?
I work in a small room in my house, so it’s nice for me to get right to it---coffee, breakfast, distressing news program, and studio. The work I make takes a long time, and involves hours of repetitive stitches, so sometimes it helps me wake up and think, or alternately, I can hide out and avoid the day a bit. Either way, the hours go by. My partner is an architect who works in our house too, so we cross paths next to the refrigerator and try to make each other laugh. I don’t keep specific hours, but I definitely try to work every day; I usually have a few things going at a time so I can find the project that suits my wandering mind.
What are you looking at right now and/or reading?
I take a lot of walks in the park near my house, looking at plants and birds---dusty trails with spray painted rocks next to yellow blooms of mustard. Lately, I’ve been having a hard time focusing on reading--I keep chipping away at Kaissa St. Clair’s book “The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History. That’s the author who wrote The Secret Lives of Color---it’s all fascinating stuff. As far as looking---artists….Kristy Luck, Laurie Nye, Maja Ruznic, Brittney Leeanne Williams, Hayley Baker, Catherine Haggarty, Nadege Monchera Baer, Nevena Prijic, Katherine Bradford….
Where can we find more of your work?
I have a website livaanrud.com and my Instagram is @livaanrud
I’ll have a solo show in Lillehammer, Norway at Elephant Kunsthall next June, and am working on a two person show with Catherine Haggarty Leftfield Gallery in San Luis Obisbo next summer as well. There might be a few group shows in the mix, one at Wonzimer in Los Angeles. I’m going to post small studio sales in my Instagram stories, so keep an eye out!