Elizabeth King (b. 1950) is a sculptor who is interested in exploring the anatomy of the body and the self portrait. She creates precisely sculpted bronze and porcelain heads, as well as wooden figures, and individual parts of the body. Her self portrait heads require the act of close looking, their frozen expressions emitting subtle emotions. They explore the universality of what it is to be human by comparing living beings with inanimate objects. She paraphrases the artist Adrian Piper to describe her work: "Just because my work is autobiographical doesn’t mean it’s about me." King also creates stop frame animation and moveable figures, simulating life in machinery. These works explore the coexistence of substance and spirit, the body versus the person, the external and the internal. King is influenced by Italian Renaissance anatomists, early clockwork automata, the history of the mannequin, and master sculptors such as Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.
Elizabeth King was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She earned her BFA and MFA degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is Professor Emeritus in the Sculpture Department at Virginia Commonwealth University where she taught for thirty years. In 2017, King was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Radical Small, inducted into the National Academy of Design and received the Artist-in-Residence position at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. She is also the recipient of the 2014 Anonymous Was A Woman award, a 2006 Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a 2002-3 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is in the public collections of the the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, among others. She lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.