Carol Eisenberg’s path to become the artist she is today was untraditional. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, she was convinced her creativity would lead her to fashion school. After two years in college, however, Eisenberg decided to leave and get married. While taking night classes to finish her undergraduate degree, Eisenberg worked in advertising for a publishing company. When her employer’s unjust policies prevented her from working during her second pregnancy, Eisenberg found her passion for activism and became heavily involved with the Women’s Movement.
Another unexpected twist came in Eisenberg’s decision to return to school—not to study the arts, but to become a lawyer. She practiced law for over 35 years in New York. The artist’s passion for social justice and curiosity is evident in her dynamic pieces. In the 1990s, Eisenberg took up photography which has become an essential element of her work today. Her pieces explore themes of inclusion, equality and justice. The pulse of her work is sustained by dualities and contradictions. Just as in life, where there is harmony in Eisenberg’s work, there is also strife. In an interview, Eisenberg described how all of these elements combine to “perfectly express the part of me that refuses to conform to society’s notion of how women are supposed to behave … and maybe even the part of me that rebels against conventional notions of photography.”
Eisenberg begins with imagery pulled from her own photography—shot in her studio or around her homes in mid-coast Maine and in Tel Aviv, Israel. Eisenberg also draws from material from her global travels. Often, the artist builds a composition pulling together natural elements like flowers, plants and branches to form multi-layered, digitally created images. The differences in ecology and environment as she travels between her two homes inform her curiosity and sustain her inspiration.
“I create constructed digital images that blur the line between painting and photography,” Eisenberg explains. “This duality of aesthetics is an essential component of my approach to art and life. I am drawn to the polarities of beauty and decay, the contrived and the natural, the excessive and the elegant.”
Beauty, Eisenberg notes, is at the forefront of her work. It is not always in ways one may expect, however. In the same way that the artist admires aesthetics and fashion, she also acknowledges how harmful beauty standards are for women. Motifs of life and death, beauty and pain, love and hate, justice and injustice are cornerstones of her work.
Eisenberg holds an MFA in Media Studies and Photography from Maine Media Workshops and College in Rockport, Maine. She has solo exhibitions at a number of museums and galleries including the Maine Jewish Museum in Portland and Carver Hill Gallery in Camden.