Faculty & staff

Elizabeth Schoyer

MFA Indiana University, 1975
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Elizabeth Schoyer has taught beginning and advanced drawing at the University of Virginia for 25 years. As drawing concepts have broadened, her methods for teaching drawing have changed to encompass varying materials with the medium now standing more on its own as an art form. Drawing is a language in which line, marks, and space have their formal meaning as well as individual symbolisms that can transform expressions. It provides us with myriad possibilities for constructing images, allowing the student to stumble along into places he or she might not approach in other media. These possibilities leave the student freer and more vulnerable to create a personal vision through a drawing project. Some of the projects Schoyer uses to facilitate expressions of her students' personal visions are: drawing performances using language, mapping as a vehicle to describe a personal history of moving through the landscape over time, or drawing totem animals to talk about one's emotional or physical history.

In her own work as an artist, Schoyer combines pencil drawing and oil painting washes on the canvas. These images relate to explorers of the 1700 and 1800 and their exploitation of various regions of the world. Her recent work focuses on the Spanish explorer Jose Celestino Mutis, who established the Royal Botanical Expedition in 1783 to study the flora and fauna of South America. At its helm for 25 years he oversaw the collection of thousands of samples together with detailed descriptions. More than 8,000 plates, plus maps, correspondence, notes and manuscripts were sent to Spain.