FP Contemporary is pleased to announce the opening reception for “Where I Live”, a solo exhibition featuring new work by Los Angeles-based artist Lisa Bartleson.
Jill Moniz PhD writes:
Where I Live is Lisa Bartleson’s most recent investigation into the liminal space between conception and construction. Her large format cast paintings explore the convergence of materiality and aesthetic intention. The work is self referential as object, blurring the lines between painting and sculpture, minimalism and abstract expressionism.
Bartleson creates work wrapped in experience and meaning, focusing on the evidences of the power of memory and history, as well as the objective value of a fixed aesthetic piece. In this compelling terrain, the necessity of compositional significance neither negates nor limits the potency of the reductive practice to reveal some elemental essentialism. Like Agnes Martin’s subtle provocative style, Bartleson unearths beautiful flaws contained in the canvas as it conveys its own sense of memory and loss.
A self-taught artist, Bartleson approaches her practice as an exercise in discovery. Her interest and point of engagement is the canvas itself, as the beginning of an authentic art experience. Beneath the erotically smooth surface of seamless resin and precisely suspended color reveals a composition of its own making. Here, the layered interruptions of texture expose the true nature of the material and extend the concept of minimalism to the weight of the unedited history underneath. The fabrication and resulting rich color field triumph from both the economy of means and the emphasis on the historicity of the material; from raw to transformed, from gritty actualities to pristine finishes.
“I am interested in revealing the traces of labor and history within the canvas. These artifacts become integral pieces of the work and invite the viewer to step into this vulnerable space of rawness, where looking beneath the surface asks the question, what is perfection?”, says Bartleson.
Bartleson successfully navigates a male dominated genre, like forerunner of minimalist sculpture, Eva Hesse, building a practice that validates her desire to unpack meaning while exploring relationships that affirm her ongoing reductive discoveries. She confidently employs this provocation, strengthening her praxis through collaborations with artists such as Jack Brogan and Eric Johnson. Where I Live exercises a similar methodology. Bartleson engages used canvas backdrops from her studio, covers them with resin, then reduces it again and again to reveal age and process, recontextualizing both the material and its history. The result is not clever or overbearing, but elegant and profound.
Fixing her intentions on the canvas allows Bartleson opportunity to explore the history of art in concert with unpacking its materiality. Inspired by the work of Doris Salcedo, whose understated sculptural explorations concentrate on remembrance and reconstituting narratives, Bartleson locates Where I Live in a similar phenomenology, linking the sensory quality of memory to the skeletal composition of the painting. Her own history as an artist reveals layers of time, memory and language that bridge her professional past as a chemist with the discovery of a powerful aesthetic that sheds light on those overlapping mechanisms of form and meaning, creating a project that reflects the liminality of her intentions as much as that of the material.
As the artist/maker, Bartleson peals back the skin of resin to reveal the canvas, the framework that supports the composition and also reminds the viewer of the textural weight of history. Bartleson identifies this space as an area that signifies the complex humanity underlying the creative process and reconnects the empirical with the conceptual. The resulting configuration exhibits a textural representation of life that is flawed, and fallible. “That’s where I live,” she says, “and the truth there is beautiful.”
Born in 1968 in Seattle, WA, Bartleson currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. She received a B.A. in Biology at the University of Northern Colorado in Greely, Colorado. Bartleson’s work is in many prominent public and private collections around the world, including the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, CA and Pio Monte della Misericordia in Naples, Italy. Currently Bartleson has an installation on exhibition at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, CA through March 17, 2015. Bartleson completed an artist residency at Art 1307 in Naples, Italy in 2013.
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