2019 currently in progress
Asked to respond to the "Human Condition" for a group show in Edinburgh (October 2019)...So much to respond to: the constant beauty of nature and our destruction thereof, fires, heatwaves, droughts, floods, and the ensuing migrations; and fears feeding the global rise of racism, fascism, and loss of empathy...
The one consistently visible global reaction are people (zombies?) escaping into their phones.
Into worlds of cyber games, Netflix bingeing, social networking FOMOs... Imaginary places where we create some semblance of inner control, while our external realities spin wildly beyond that control, and real solutions escape because we are too busy "connecting".
Heat, Water, and Sitting Ducks
Much of society's migration challenges are direct results of climate change and the resulting famines, crop failures, floods, destructive hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes, heat waves etc... Continuing on from my work on migration and identity, this series explores some of the root causes and effects of these changes.
My Spring '19 residency with Art Ventures Gallery on the California Coast put me in the land of rising tides, and wildfires. A trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, gave me access to the sea life below these rising, warming, polluted seas. And yet, the beauty was still there, the consistent rythms of the tides and the waves, the dance in the reflections of light, and the resilience of nature surrounding me...not willing to give up, adapting, absorbing, and perhaps even hoping for positive change...
In June 2019, I lectured in Musee Maillol in Paris about how disruptive technologies of the industrial revolution lead to the advances in painting made by the Impressionists and the parallels of those disruptions to the opportunities digital painters now have.
Impressionists, like digital artists, were called "cheaters", as society struggled to keep up with the changes they were eagerly adopting.They had a huge increase in the amount of colors and mark making materials available to them, and they had access to images from around the world (Japonisme) in unprecedented amounts, with photography as a new medium pushing their boundaries.
Armed with my iPad, and it's infinite color and mark making choices, I am now free from the burdens of carrying materials to places that wouldn't let me use them even if I had them. The choice of color and mark making tools is now governed by the visual energies I'm responding to.
The images below are my pleine air responses to "moments" in time. Observing the people, objects and energies that occupy a space, a series of paintings, a lecture, a political discussion, a bar, an airport waiting area--I continue to seek the connective tissues in our increasingly connected/disconnected world. (These pieces exist as limited edition archival prints in a variety of sizes, depending on the image.)
A tough winter, battling walking penumonia, and challenging news. Pushing the colour and energetic lines in my work helped me to express my need for spring and optimism. I've always been an active sportswoman and gardener--and there's nothing better than a good hug to heal the soul.
In a world where viewpoints are increasingly black or white, without nuance, and often not allowing for any colour mixing both literally and figuratively, I went to Cuba. Raised in America, infused with a Cold War American narrative highlighted by the Bay of Pigs, and other polarizing events, I went looking for what was beneath the surface of these political narratives. I found the cars a metaphor for a people that are resilient, in a bit of a time warp, romantic, curvacious, sassy, and cobbled together with many resourceful solutions. I found the heat/light and the cool/shade metaphors for the ways Cubans face the challenges of survival. I tried to learn Spanish, but only mastered the phrase "El mundo esta loco". It served me well, but not as well as learning to embrace the Cuban optimism and love of music, dance and the arts as a means of counterbalancing life's challenges.
Beneath the Surface
What lies beneath the surfaces we so quickly label and believe we understand? What drives people to journey far from home? What memories and thoughts do they carry with them to their new cities? What light lies beneath the surfaces if we scrape away the dark...? These are a series of paintings and limited edition prints done in response to the above questions. Some are celebrating the brave and beautiful souls of refugees that Lisa has worked with. Others explore questions of a new life in a new place, of leaders trying to make a better world for all, and of those left behind...
While in Jackson Heights NY, taking reference photos for an upcoming collaboration with singer/songwriter Tanuja Desai Hidier Lisa witnessed a wealth of diverse cultures journeying together. She pulled out her iPad and captured just a few people walking down the street. What drives where people live, what they do, who they hang with? What choices they might or might not have?
Celebrating the brave and beautiful women and children met while doing art projects with refugees--this piece combines 3 of their artworks. Two, by children (boat, sun, tree, kids, house) fused together with a self portrait by a young woman. Conceived of digitally, painted in oils for the final piece.
Asked to do a portrait of the city of Stockton, this piece represents a city and a mayor making progress against all odds. The multiple layers of digitally stitched photos, a poem, and original drawings, invite viewers to dive more deeply into the dreams and the realities of a city thrusting beyond their legacies.
Old collides with new on every corner. East collides with West, where one has the feeling of being in a Star Wars movie set more often than not. And then, this Iranian Saffron seller, in his very traditional shop. No he wouldn't bargain, and no he wouldn't smile, and no photos were allowed. She needed to immortalise his tough hardened spirit, and in this city of contrasts, this was her visual solution.
Tyranny has a witness and hope has a champion. Painting these words as the foundation for the piece, Cirenza added images and drawings inspired by the work of the Children's Division Of Human Rights Watch championing the right of kids everywhere to have an education. Covered over with the pixel equivalent of black charcoal, she erased back through this to find the light of the hope provided in the work of HRW.
Beneath our differences lie the foundations of our similarities. The basis of this piece is a refugee's silhouette for both figures. The interior of the immigrant is composed of figures drawn live in different urban settings. The refugee has no identity. Tic Tac toe can't be won without an unfair advantage.
Connections and Constructions
Mixed media paintings exploring, and often celebrating, the ordinary connections and disconnections of daily life.
So many people, so many conversations, so many encounters--living in our crowded urban environments can overwhelm the senses. Where did one conversation start and the other end? Where does one person end and the other begin? In the midst of all this chaos our differences can quickly divide us--or might our need to love and be loved, to dream, to eat, to sleep, to breathe, to feel safe, unite us?
Where does one person start and another begin? What divides us? What unites us? Painted on the in November 2016 in response to some of the universal responses to world events...
Humans walking around with their eyes glued to devices. These humans, they talk to these devices, they tap on them, they listen to them--they even draw and paint on them!! Who is the master: device or human? Where does the human start and the device end?
Have you recently taken the time to just watch life pass by from one spot in this amazing city of ours? "Bank" was done live near Bank Station, on a balmy evening, around rush hour. The pulse of the people, the cyclists, the vehicles--the need to be somewhere-- to talk to someone-- to read that email. The old buildings, and new construction. All from a single vantage point, during a very brief moment in time...
Ubiquitous safety vests and helmets--the need for housing, hospitals, schools, roads, as the global population bulges beyond its current infrastructure limits. It's the people that give the buildings real life, from the moment construction starts.
An allegorical societal exploration, looking at the sharing of space, and assumptions during our daily commutes... These paintings are oil, acrylic, and charcoal on hand prepared boards and canvases.
The London Tube. A microcosm of cross-cultural potential: shared armrests, shared journeys, shared purposes. And then, sometimes, Not. The plague of the manspread.
The crowd. You've just gotten off the tube and you have to get to the escalator, but all these people are trying to get to their trains. What a phenomenal assortment of individuals. We notice all of them, and yet, we see none of them. We're busy trying to find the most efficient way to that escalator. Probably amazing life stories hidden behind those faces. And yet we focus on the feet in front of us. Gotta get to that escalator...
What might these two be thinking? When asked, most men think he's staring into space thinking about what his day might be, and that she's tenderly looking at a child, or texting. Most women think he's lasciviously looking at her, in ways he shouldn't, and that it shouldn't have been painted this way. What's your narrative got to do with what you "see"?
In direct response to the "selfie" culture, these works ask us to look beyond our'selves' and into, not just through, 'others' that surround us. Live drawings done on an iPhone in public transport in the UK, Japan, and France. These are hand finished, archival limited edition prints.
Urban scenes painting en pleine aire, pushing pixels, not pigments; to create the sense of movement, light and form. Using an iPad allows artists to capture the energy of an urban moment in a way never before possible--no longer are artists harnessed to limited tool availability, all the colours and mark making vehicles exist on their tablets. These are a series of limited edition prints on archival papers.
Who are the "otheries" that we so intimately share with during our daily commutes? What are their stories, where are they coming from, going to? Look beyond your device. Engage with humanity...and please note the "s" on the title of this piece.
(Background is a pastel drawing done live from the top of the Tate Modern, superimposed digitally on a live iPad drawing done on the Tube through many layers of digital stitching.)
Sharing space, armrests, commutes. Creating space bubbles with our devices. What differentiates us? Maybe we're all in the same bubble, maybe not...
The collusion of cultures, social strata, languages and other usually divisive human traits are amazing on the London Underground. Yes, we are all in our tech, newspaper bubbles, or whatever space bubble but we usually share the armrest, make way for others to get on and off, smile politely (ok not always) at the screaming baby--chasing the mutual goal of getting from one place to another. Then this, the iconic "shared" space.
Reflections, hopes and dreams, on the way to work.
The Green guy was on an advert as I was awaiting my train. It was a Monday. Lisa was late. She thought painting him on her iPad could infuse her with the peace he exudes. She entered the train and saw these two people with the seat between them empty. She painted them live, and put the Green guy already in the middle of her composition, between them. Are their expressions which she didn't alter to fit the scene, serendipity or a fate reality?
And then there are those tender human moments we can all appreciate...
The fashion is as diverse as the individuals on the tube...
Examining our shared spaces in our crowded urban landscapes, Lisa heightens the sense of claustrophobia by the dynamic use of the busses at opposite ends of the composition. Her signature red cell phones are dynamically scattered to increase the staccato of energy, while the choice of colours give a sense of the mashup of sun, neon signs, and electric energy that moves the crowds forward at the sign of the little green man.
Prices start at £150 for limited edition prints with unique paintings ranging from £2200-£15,000, (based on prior sales and commissions).