Elizabeth Milton

Cracks and Vines

Cracks and Vines is a video memorial to houses erased from the Mount Pleasant landscape. Drawing from Milton’s fifteen year history as a Mount Pleasant resident, the work focusses on the recreation of wallpaper that once patterned the walls of rental suites she was forced to leave due to demolition. Exploring a tension between stillness and motion, permanence and impermanence, visibility and invisibility, the work attempts to unearth vines of memory into a kind of funerary bouquet that recalls spaces now gone.

Utilizing hyper-camp floral blooms, untamed weeds and neon surfaces, these recalled wallpaper patterns collide the organic with the manufactured in order to create wildly femme motifs that explore gender, power and class within the domestic realm. Dandelions, ivy and morning glory are combined with the vivid gloss of construction tape, neon fencing and industrial paint and woven into a series of unfixed collages. Documented in the wind, these compositions tremor with a subtle movement somewhere between the animate and the inanimate, growth and collapse.

With all materials sourced from the perimeter of demolished homes, Cracks and Vines reflects on the rapid development of Mount Pleasant and the socio-economic complexities of a post-Olympics Vancouver through the performative act of returning, unburying and remembering. Mimicking a kind of psychoanalytic return of the repressed, weeds, growing out of cracks in concrete, are dug out and twisted into approximations


Elizabeth Milton is a performance and media artist who lives as a guest on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations in Vancouver, Canada. Her video and photo-based works utilize absurdist character-play and camp materiality to explore identity and affect. Involving a range of participants, from family members to opera singers, her interdisciplinary and collaborative works aim to critically investigate the power structures and aesthetics imbedded in amateurism. Through hyperbolic expressivity, comedic excess and processes of endurance, Milton examines the performative potential of maximalist femininity, novelty store glamour and the garish refuse of commercial culture.

Her work has been exhibited and performed in Canada and Europe at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Artspeak, Access Gallery, the Grunt Gallery, VIVO Media Arts, the Western Front (Vancouver); the Surrey Art Gallery; the Nanaimo Art Gallery; Gallery TPW, Nuit Blanche (Toronto); Platform Centre for Photographic and Digital Arts (Winnipeg); Neutral Ground (Regina) and Altes Finanzamt (Berlin). She has participated in Artist Residencies at the Banff Centre, Access Gallery and Skaftfell Centre for Visual Art, Iceland.

Milton holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of British Columbia and a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University. She is a faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts at Langara College where she instructs studio courses in Media and Performance. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of Artspeak Gallery in Vancouver.