Born in 1968 in Seattle, WA, Lisa Bartleson is a mixed-media artist who currently lives and works in both Los Angeles and Northern California. Her work is inspired by the Light and Space movement from the 1960s and 1970s, which originated in Southern California. Bartleson received a B.A. in Biology at the University of Northern Colorado and was a scientist with a pharmaceutical company as she pursued her artistic path. This is evident in her incredible ability to create nearly seamless gradations of color in each piece.
For her ongoing Sphere series, Bartleson paints many strips of Mylar (a clear plastic) starting with thinner pieces (used near the center of each sphere) and getting wider towards the outer layers on each piece. These strips are taped vertically to her studio walls as she paints them. Picture a paint bucket with a neutral colored paint. She slowly adds pigment to the bucket as she paints each strip of Mylar on the wall. To begin the sphere, she cuts small squares from each strip and glues them down in a circular motion starting at the center. These cut squares slowly go from light to dark as she knows just when to move the next strip of Mylar, which is painted with a darker pigment. She continues cutting these squares and gluing them over the layers beneath in a repetitive circular movement. The further out she goes from the center, the darker the color gets. For the final step Lisa pours a liquid resin over the surface to seal all of the pieces of painted Mylar. The surface is smooth like glass after the resin.
Utilizing pigments that interact with the viewer’s perception of light and color, Bartleson attains work that shifts and reveals itself as the person observing moves to investigate. This forces a kinetic relationship between the viewer and the painting. In her spheres, she focuses on a center point of luminescence that is intended to capture the viewer and perhaps move them to a place of contemplation and meditation.
“When I’m constructing the pieces, it’s a lot of hand-made repetitive motions that over time are very meditative. Sometimes the process has the potential to be so pristine, yet elements are introduced that contradict the process and throw it off. As you paint hundreds of individual strips there is always an element of slight imperfection because of the fact that it is handcrafted.”
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. Bartleson completed an artist residency at Art 1307 in Naples, Italy in 2013.