Art on campus


Artists: Liz Obert
Exhibit dates: Now through April 14
Location: Dengerink Administration Building Gallery

Framed portraits with writing on the frame

In Dualities I seek to present the internal and external lives of people that have bipolar or major depressive disorder. Each component of this body of work consists of two portraits. One shows the subject presented, as they want to be seen to the outside world; in contrast, the other portrait is set in the space where they retreat into solitary moods. Under the images are captions, handwritten by the subjects, about what they feel or think about in each state of mind.

As a person who suffers from bipolar 2, I am acutely aware of the dualities of life that people with this illness face. We have an internal life, that we rarely share and an exterior persona, as witnessed by acquaintances and colleagues. These photographs offer a peek into the subject’s dual nature.

I begin creating a photograph by getting to know my subject. I meet with them over coffee and just talk. It is important to establish a rapport with one another in order to make a connection between photographer and subject. We discuss how they would like to set up the photographs. I give the subject control over the setting. They decide where they want to be photographed and what they will be doing. After I print the photograph, the subject writes on the images.

My aim is to expose the hidden diseases of depression and bi-polar disorder. Sufferers feel they must mask their symptoms in order to function in the outside world. I seek to give a glimpse to the viewer, about the internal lives of people who struggle with disorders that are often misunderstood.


Liz Obert is an artist living in Portland Oregon. She is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Linfield College. She received her BFA from College of Santa Fe and her MFA from Washington State University, Pullman. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Most recent exhibitions include the 3rd International Biennial of Fine Art and Documentary Photography, Municipal Museum of Malaga, Malaga, Spain and Photography Now, Woodstock Center for Photography, Woodstock, NY. She has also been published in Slate Magazine and the Huffington Post.

Entry to campus exhibits is free. WSU Vancouver galleries are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205. Parking is available at parking meters or in the blue lot for $3.00.