Lisa Bartleson’s art practice is comprised of unconventional, yet human approaches to concepts that require balance. She weighs materiality through scientific study and emotion; she considers articulations of interior and exterior, loss and fulfillment, experience and memory in the same space; and delves into light and darkness both conceptually and physically on the canvas.
As Bartleson's practice evolves, she is looking within. The artist has shifted from her historic log rhythmic dedication to perfection of the exterior in the vein of the Light and Space movement’s finish fetish, to a more freeing, emotional focus on interior painting and the object as a whole. In this new space, Bartleson brings the viewer into her consciousness, her concerns and her aesthetics that fuse light and pigment with feeling, narrative and form.
Continuing her investigation of the feminine, Bartleson pays particular attention to shape and volume with her provocative circular paintings in muted, natural hues creates a sensory and sensual experience. She eschews her calculated scientific approach of measurement and structure for a freer painterly focus on the canvas where the stories she wants to tell are integrated in the compositions.
Bartleson offers a new entryway into themes and compositions by layering and sculpting canvas foundations. The peaks and valleys created with this method feel vital, vibrant and kinetic. In addition, she seamlessly merges traditional practice with the industrial, contemporary materiality of pigmented resin. This painterly, multilayered approach to color is magnified by the undulating canvas, highlighting the sensuousness of the material and providing emotional, spatial and aesthetic depth.
In addition to evolving and refining her use of the circle, Bartleson employs light in new ways. She explores and challenges the perceptions of the form’s interior by magnifying the light around it, creating an oculus that acts as guide, metaphor and a radically contemporary chiaroscuro technique. For Bartleson, the emptiness at the center of the work is a void that can and should be entered. The oculus is both a lens into the interior and a measure of light and gradation of color. Bartleson’s interests lie in the mysterious, opaque interior, that which in not seen but felt. She transforms the absence of solidity by highlighting the darkness of the center which emphasizes the radiant and translucent light and form rippling from it, so that we see the depth but not the void.
Always in tune with the ways that art connects to and reflects humanity, Bartleson uses her new work to measure the tension between classic and contemporary, industrial materials as an allegory to contemplate the resonance of instinct and emotion in a world overrun with stimuli. Bartleson extends this narrative through the oculus – the ancient eye – that she updates with her expert use of resin.
Bartleson’s work is a balance of ideology and material and contains the dimensionality for objecthood as well as engagement. Bartleson demands not agreement, but participation. She understands and relishes the space where we as humans and she as artist pursue perfection, but know we’ll never get there. She comforts our disappointment, however, by offering guides, entryways and windows into the soul of the world where light is felt before seen, contained and set wildly free at the same time.