America 101, by Liz Roth, is comprised of 100 tiny oil paintings that capture the enormous beauty of the natural landscape found in each state in America. In preparation for the project, Roth visited each state in the country to study its landscape, capture photographs, and complete on-site sketches and watercolor paintings. The images she gathered on her travels served as reference for the final oil paintings which she completed in her home studio in Stillwater. Although the paintings are small (4" x 6", some vertical and some horizontal), the artist did not neglect to capture the grandeur of our country's infinite scenery.
The exhibit includes a U.S. map which highlights Roth's route across the country as well as two images from each state arranged in columns. The works are laid out beginning with the westernmost states, such as Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington and continue around the gallery to conclude with the easternmost states. The order of the paintings allows the viewer to witness the rhythmic changes and diversity in the landscape of the country.
Roth's artwork often depicts social concerns and America 101 is no different. "This piece is a contemporary critique of our uneasy relationship with nature," Roth says. "The project demonstrates our attempts to ignore what is large at the same time we focus attention on small impermanent disposables." This body of artwork has been exhibited in various locations and is usually displayed with a billboard-size image of a plastic water bottle.
Roth states, "The single-use, disposable water bottle is a ubiquitous commodity in a nation with pure drinking water at almost every tap." Due to size constraints, the billboard is not included in this exhibit but is pictured above.
Roth is currently an assistant professor of painting and drawing at Oklahoma State University. Over the past few years she has been an artist in residence in Alaska. Wyoming, Vermont, and Japan.. She has been awarded numerous artistic grants from organizations such as the Wisconsin Arts Board, the National Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. Roth's art has been acquired by many national and international collections including the Walker Museum of Art, Minnesota; the Museu del Joguet, Spain; the Museum of Awa Japanese Paper, Japan; and the KAIR Contemporary Art Collection, Japan.