Monday, January 8, 2018

Jeanne Heifetz Answers:

Thank you to Jeanne for answering some of my questions. I love the materiality and mapping quality of this new work. 

Pre-Occupied 66

graphite on flax paper tinted with iron oxide
x 29

 Pre-Occupied 76
graphite on flax paper sized with persimmon juice 
29 x 21

Pre-Occupied 18  
silver graphite on flax paper tinted with iron oxide
21 x 29

Pre-Occupied 12
silver graphite on Indian sunn hemp paper
13 x 17

What inspires you?
The series I’ve been working on for the past two years, “Pre-Occupied,” was inspired by Doris Salcedo’s retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2015. Up to that point my work had been very process-based, but Salcedo made me wonder whether artists have an obligation to make work about things that frighten us.

Pre-Occupied statement:
In this series, I challenged myself to confront something that terrifies me.
I have had death panics since I was eight years old. Ironically, the only real estate I am ever likely to own is a parcel of eight cemetery plots I inherited from my grandfather. The deed to the plots came with a map of the cemetery, which seemed like the logical place to begin to address my fear. Each drawing in this series is based on the map of a different Jewish cemetery, including the ones where my own relatives are buried. (I am not religious, but the historical and familial connection was important: these are all places I could be buried, even though I remain completely unreconciled to the idea of my own death.)
I can’t claim that drawing the maps allays my panic. Death remains entirely unknowable terrain: the map can never be the territory. And yet, stripped of identifying text, the cemeteries’ abstract forms are mysteriously compelling, grounding me in the universal human drive to create beauty, order, and ritual in the face of our own mortality.

Doris Salcedo, “1550 Chairs Stacked Between Two City Buildings” Istanbul Biennial, 2003

I don’t think of my work as political, as Salcedo’s clearly is. Yet after the 2016 election, as my husband and I started pulling together our passport applications, I began thinking about what it means to flee a country and leave your dead behind, exposed and vulnerable. In Europe during and after the war, Jewish headstones were pulled up and used as the foundations of houses or as flagstones in patios and roadways. I also started thinking about the way we can carry our dead with us, and the way the remnants of the destroyed shtetls of Eastern Europe can be found in American cemeteries: you can trace our ancestral villages in the names of the burial societies. So while many of us have been asking ourselves how to respond to the current political moment in our work, I found my work connected to that moment in ways I hadn’t anticipated.

What is your personal history?
I grew up in an apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City and considered the Met my playground. I knew the layout of the museum by heart. I loved the children’s wing with the diorama of the medieval workshop, the interactive color wheel, and the film of how egg tempera is made (the current version of the children’s wing is completely sterile by comparison). I still have the tiny books I got there as a child: How to Look at Paintings and How to Look at Sculpture. But I never imagined myself becoming an artist. My high school’s art program was pretty tepid: I could swear we drew the same still life every year. I can still close my eyes and see that spider plant. But something else happened in those years. Our school librarian was also a dance critic, and she taught an afterschool class in dance appreciation. I got hooked. In that era, you could get tickets to New York City Ballet for $4 or $5 (in the highest tier of the theatre – but if you spotted an empty seat below you could claim it during the intermission). I did that about three times a week, and I think my education in pattern and structure and visual rhythm as well as my interest in light and shadow and playing with translucency and scrims came from watching Balanchine ballets (not to mention Karinska’s costumes and Jennifer Tipton’s lighting). I never had any formal art training. I have two degrees in English, and a background in weaving, which I learned in a summer course at 14 and did professionally for years. Eventually I moved from making functional work on the loom to making sculptural work using textile techniques with non-traditional materials (wire and glass) to drawing on stone with powdered metals mixed with cold wax, to drawing on paper.

I Would Have Remembered That 13
ink on handmade abaca paper
11 x 14

 Geometry of Hope: Cobalt, Emerald
acid-etched glass rods, coated copper wire, coated silver wire, stainless-steel mesh.
20” x 20”

Tourmaline Curve
acid-etched glass, silver wire
6.5” x 13” (depth variable)


Creatives in your ancestry who might have influenced you?
 My parents met at the High School of Music & Art, but both of them were musicians. My mother worked in cultural and educational exchange for the State Department, but she also took classes at the Art Students’ League. Her grandfather had been a goldsmith who made beautiful Art Nouveau jewelry with a lot of delicate filigree and repouss√© work. I guess if there’s a gene for doing detailed work on a tiny scale I inherited it from him. My mother’s best friend from high school was the Israeli painter Nora Frenkel, whose work filled the apartment I grew up in. My father was passionate about photography, and taught it out of our apartment. We had a darkroom at home where he (and later I) developed both color and black-and-white film and prints.

Nora self-portrait 1995

Saki-Ori: Indigo, Logwood
tussah silk hand-dyed with indigo, fustic, catechu, logwood.
63 x 36

Name 5 favorite artists that turn you on…and why?
That’s a tough one. I keep a spreadsheet of artists whose work I admire (and share on Facebook) and it’s got almost 900 names on it. But I also have keywords on the spreadsheet to help me remember each artist’s work, and some of the most frequent keywords are “obsessive,” “cellular,” “biomorphic,” “mapping,” “accretion,” “layering,” and “installation.” So that gives you an idea of what floats my boat.

 studio bulletin board
 studio bulletin board
"tape wall" (tape used to mask out areas of drawing). 

Studio Shot

Jeanne's Website 




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Paul Bowen answers

Paul Bowen was kind enough to answer some of my questions about creative ancestry and artist connections.  I have never met him but have always appreciated his work when I have visited Provincetown. Thanks, Paul!

Lisa, so glad you ask about creative ancestry !
It is something that I'm conscious and grateful for.

I grew up in Wales in the 1950s Welsh was my Dad's first language, but in those days uniformity was encouraged so my brother and I never became fluent. In Wales, conscious visual culture is relatively recent, whereas music and literature have always been central to the culture.
Part of our family worked in the slate quarries and I was thrilled to find out recently that there was ships carpenter among them. My taid (grandather) worked in a hardware store and had a sideline engraving coffin plates ! I have his tools in my workshop. My Dad was an architect and although he was well known for his Bauhaus-ish buildings, his real love was the old architecture, castles, churches, burial chambers and standing stones of the area we lived in. Much of our family time was spent exploring there and I am forever grateful for my parents love of the landscape. In WW II my Dad served in The Royal Engineers, building bridges, and in bomb disposal..I had had a couple of the bombs he defused, hanging on my bedroom wall when I as a kid.

Apse, 2016-17, Rust Stained Wood, 12.5 x13 x 2 inches

Latch, rust, 2017

Hiraethum, 1986, wood and chalk, 101 in x 81 in x 14 in, private collection

Kedge, wood, 1990, 168 x 108 x 18 in

I'm working on a list of artist I connect with, some from long ago, others more recent, and some are peers. A proper list would be pages long !

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 89 oil barrels on Rue Visconti, June 27, 1962

Lee Bontecou, Untitled, 1964

Myron Stout, “Untitled” (1977–79), graphite on paper, 5


Elder, Skaters Before the Gate of St. George in Antwerp, 1558

I have a direct conection to some of these artists through the materials, process or imagery they use, the others listed are mostly painters and it is painting and drawing that I find myself looking at these days. The block-buster rather corporate feel of much current work interests me less and less and I find that I'm drawn to simple direct expression, and often to the work of amateurs, sincere, intimate and authentic.

Boat and Bridge

Bridge Boat

Bridge Map

Sketchbook drawing

Armada, 2016, wood and bronze, 9 x 8 x 4 in.

Beacon, 2016, wood and bronze, 9 x 5 x 3 

Paul's Studio

What books are you reading these days?

Upcoming exhibitions:
I'll be showing a major work built from oars in 'Preserving The Very Nature of Cape Cod' at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis Ma, March 15 - May 20.

And currently working on a series of commissioned table top sculptures for 'On Edge ' at The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield By. May 20 - January 20, 2018

And will have new work at Albert Merola Gallery in Provincetown this summer and at Big Town Gallery , Rochester, Vermont.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

New Beginnings

Studio wall 2017

I began this blog in 2009 with "some of this and that about art " and also featured artists working their studios. I have always been interested in artists' inspirations, story, personal history,point of view and studio life.

What inspires you? What makes the hair on your neck go up? What do you take pictures of? What is your personal history? What artist's work turns you on and why? What do you see outside your window in the studio? What's on your bookshelf? What do you listen to? Thoughts in the studio?

Those are the kind of questions I will be asking myself and others again.
Stayed tuned but meanwhile here are some interesting posts from the past:

Mine from 2009
Steven Alexander,Paul Benke,Hannalore Baron,Rebecca Crowell,Diane Englander,Lorrie Fredette,Brenda Goodman,Matt Langley ,Lucy Mink,Diane McGregor,Tim McFarlane,Nancy Natale
Leslie Neuman,Sue Post,Fran Shalom,Titles,Inside/Outside,Etiquette of the Studio Visit

"Talking" 48 x 38 pigment sticks on panel 2016    R&F Handmade Paint Collection

Friday, March 17, 2017


Snow day in Spring!
Hoping all is well where you live and you are enjoying art full days!
Happy to be included in the first show at the Jen Tough Gallery, Vallejo, CA open until April 8th
Free Passage at Addington Gallery in Chicago through May
From Dan Addington:
I'm really excited to announce that Addington Gallery will be featuring noted abstract painter Lisa Pressman in our upcoming group exhibition "Free Passage: ).Lisa is a fantastic painter and a leading practitioner in the US of encaustic painting, although she often incorporates oil and other wax-based mediums into her work. These paintings are deep, layered, and visceral, yet somehow they always remain fresh, immediate, and vivid! Lisa is a true colorist, and when you see these pieces in person (as I hope you do, here, on March 3) you will be captivated by how she speaks the language of color, and how clearly you can hear her voice. These gem-like paintings (many are 12x12) are capable of taking you on long journeys (hence the title of the show "Free Passage"). I know this, because one hangs in my kitchen, and it helps wake me up every morning. - Opening March 3, 5-8pm at Addington Gallery, 704 N Wells St.
I have  decided to create a Facebook group that would be : updates on my exhibitions and workshops, a place to share art, information, ideas, thoughts  and discussions. A little more interactive than a blog and a Facebook page and no politics. Just Art!

So if you are interested: please ask to join MORE PAINT on FB. See you there.
Please visit my website for new work and news.

Drop Content Blocks Here
Drop Content Blocks Here
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list