Although best known as a sculptor with an emphasis on large scale, site specific projects, Elyn Zimmerman has created and exhibited drawings and photographs since graduating UCLA in 1972 with an MFA in painting and photography. She continues to mix and match these media in her two dimensional works; sometimes emphasizing one over the other, but over time keeping a balance between the two processes. Until the mid 1980’s all the drawings were black and white or monochrome, but the series entitled “Ceremonial Objects” done in vividly colored encaustic medium on paper was a departure--introducing color and texture into her two dimensional work. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s her photography continued in black and white but printed in both conventional and unconventional media. Then, in 1987, looking for more color and texture, she created a portfolio of images entitled “Magna Graecia”. These photographs are sepia-colored Iris prints on rough watercolor paper. Other Iris print portfolios followed, and work with full color printing started in 2001 and was the subject of an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery at that time.
Zimmerman's sculptural works range from studio pieces and private commissions to large scale, site specific projects. In the mid 1970’s Zimmerman created a number of temporary, site-specific installations for museum and gallery exhibitions. Projects were done at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Hudson River Museum, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC. Returning to the USA after a trip to India in 1977 (where she was inspired by archeological sites to do outdoor projects), she was invited to do temporary outdoor works at places like Artpark, Lewiston, NY; 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid, NY; Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, TX, and others. Her permanent outdoor projects, beginning in 1980, are best known for the use of stone, often in association with water, (reflecting pools, fountains) and landscape elements. Included among these large scale, public commissions is a fountain to memorialize the World Trade Center bombing, New York City; the design of the Sculpture garden at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama; a fountain and seating area for AT&T headquarters in New Jersey; the plaza design including a large pool and granite sculpture at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC; a plaza project in San Francisco, CA with multiple water elements and seating areas; and a plaza in downtown Vancouver with sculpture and water elements. Other projects are currently under construction.
Zimmerman was born in Philadelphia, PA, received both undergraduate and Master’s degree in Art at UCLA, and taught university level art classes from 1974 to 1986 in California and New York. She has lived in New York City since 1977 and since 2006 also partly in Ojai, CA.