Lillian Sizemore is widely recognized in the field as a ‘mosaic detective.’ Sizemore uncovers the legacies of twentieth-century mosaic in the modern built environment. Sizemore holds degrees in Fine Art and Italian from Indiana University, studied History of Art and Italian at the University of Bologna, Italy, and over the past 25 years studied mosaic techniques with maestri from around the world. From 2013-2016 Lillian participated in the Post Graduate Research Programme at The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London, with a focus on translating Gino Severini’s mosaic pedagogy. Her research includes a geometric discovery within the Roman Lod Mosaic from Israel, restoring the 1956 feature film, The World of Mosaic, and tracing the origins of Picasso’s little known midcentury mosaic works. Sizemore’s writing has been published in RawVision, Andamento, Society for Commercial Archaeology, Mosaïque, and Mosaic Art NOW. Lillian works in collage, watercolor, and sculptural mosaic works using traditional and experimental mosaic methods.
I was introduced to mosaic as a child and my first trip to Ravenna, Italy in 1979 included a visit to a mosaic workshop. I have traveled to Italy frequently to visit family and study. I trained as a photographer and printmaker, had a decades-long career as a graphic designer, and worked professionally as a florist and garden designer. In 1994 I began experimenting with broken tile for exterior and interior spaces embracing the philosophical metaphor of the fragmented surface—how something broken and discarded could be made whole and beautiful again.
In 2000, I studied classical mosaic techniques with Luciana Notturni. I moved toward cut materials using classical hammer and hardy techniques. I currently focus on “al cavaletto” (easel) works and sculptural pieces rooted in geometry, nature, and esoterica. I pursue studies in midcentury modern mosaic, researching and writing, with a particular interest in women’s roles and the preservation of mosaic from the recent past. Being a maker informs my writing with embodied subject knowledge that is often bypassed in art history texts.
I incorporate a variety of materials with wood and the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban (charring wood). More recent works take on subjects of sitting meditation, ephemerality, emergent light, and geometry. I rarely purchase material, preferring to use what I have after years of collecting. I acquire material through the gift and scavenge economy. I typically work with vintage materials.
I prefer to work in direct method, setting right into the mortar bed. I create undulating textures, so that light can reflect, enter and exit the materials. I want the viewer to sense they are entering a little city or landscape, as if flying above. My intention is to create dynamic surfaces designed for intimate observation and deep reflection.