Monday, November 16, 2015

Lisa Pressman: 'Passing Through' at Causey Contemporary by John Seed

Lisa Pressman: 'Passing Through' at Causey Contemporary by John Seed

Passing Through 1, 2015, Oil on panel, 12"x12"

When a collector recently asked Lisa Pressman how much time she had spent making a recent painting she answered directly: "About thirty years." It's an answer that likely came across as a bit flip at first, but considering the depth of experience that goes into her work, Pressman's response was actually both forthright and graceful. To forge the searching, varied and surprising images that she makes, Pressman relies heavily on intuition: a faculty that has taken her many years to trust and talk about. "For many years I used to be embarrassed to talk about intuition," she reflects, "but as time goes on I realize it is my strength."

Lisa Pressman

Pressman is process-oriented and each image represents a kind of gradual accretion of ideas and methods that wouldn't be possible without the broad foundation of caprices and ruminations that preceded it. Her work, which is abstract but still very much inspired by the process of seeing, has a sense of visual "rightness" that only intuition can validate. When she teaches, Pressman often tells her students to stare at something and then close their eyes as they draw it. Why? Because she feels that portraying the essence of things--filtered and re-constituted by the myriad subtleties of consciousness--is better than drawing from life.

John Seed Interviews Lisa Pressman

Passing Through 2, 2015, Oil on panel, 12"x12"

Lisa, tell me about the theme of your show: "Passing Through."

"Passing Through" reflects both my own travels and the passing away of my mother in September of 2014, just before her 100th birthday. The last few days of her life she had visions of trains, boats and other symbols that referred to traveling. Ironically, In my own travels, I have been using the camera as a sketchbook and many of the photos are related to trains, boats, windows and reflections. So "Passing Through" is about both physical journeys as well as a metaphysical passage.

A source photo for Lisa Pressman's "Passing Through" series

Off Somewhere, 2015, Oil on panel, 12"x12"

Can you say a bit about how your mother Adele was important to your development as an artist? 

Both my parents played an important role in my development. My father owned a lumberyard when I was growing up so I have many memories of walking through the aisles of stuff: screws, nails, washers, etc. Watching the house paint being mixed and looking at all the colors of the paint chips was a thrill. The smell of wood and sawdust is very familiar. As for my mother, she was an actress, an artist and an antique dealer who fostered my interest in art by taking me to museums, supporting my decision to study art and always believing in me.

Point of Departure, 2015, Oil on panel, 18"x18"

How does the world around you make its way into your abstract imagery?

One of my strongest memories as a child was when I would lay in bed and try to fall asleep. I would stare at the wall and create a grid and imagine images in each square of moving light and color. Abstraction speaks to me. These days I am always looking at patterns, textures, colors, shapes and lines in an abstracted way. Using the camera as a viewfinder has sharpened my vision as a painter. I don't look at or use the photos in the studio but just the act of stopping, noticing and capturing the image filters it way into my work.

One of Lisa Pressman's source photos

Do you work on a single series at a time or do you juggle themes and ideas? 

I am always juggling themes, ideas and materials. I work on many pieces at a time and they are all in different stages of completion. After the Passing Through work leaves the studio, I will be continuing to work on a series of paintings that deal with structure, geometry and space. Some of the consistent themes in my work are transformation and decay, building history, interior and exterior spaces, windows and vessels, mapping and both the close up and the far away. I find that the imagery in my work appears and reappears over years.

Shifting Time 2, Pigmented wax and mixed media on panel, 30" x 30"

Who are some living artists that you admire? 

Today's picks would be: Mark Bradford, Jay Kelly, Brenda Goodman, Louise Fishman, Amy Silman, William Kendridge, El Anatsui, Sqeak Carnwath Thomas Nozkowski, Jonathan Lasker, Brice Marden and Andy Goldsworthy. I have a feeling Frank Stella will be in on the list after I see the show at the Whitney.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your current show?

I am looking forward to seeing all this work outside of my studio. The surfaces of the paintings are rich with texture and subtle shifts of color, so to see them up on the wall, properly lit, will be revealing.

Lisa Pressman "Passing Through"
Causey Contemporary
29 Orchard Street, NYC
Opening is Friday, November 13th, 6-8
The show runs through 12/13/2015
View the exhibition catalog online

Monday, October 12, 2015

Save the Date: Friday the 13th of November: Passing Through at Causey Contemporary

Passing Through ,12 x 12 oil 2015
For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Tracy Causey-Jeffery

Passing Through, Exhibition Focuses on Metaphorical Passage Between Human Vibrancy and Entropy; Opens November 13th at Causey Contemporary

First Solo exhibition by Lisa Pressman at Gallery in Manhattan, NY, September 2015  
Close to the Heart , 12 x 12,  oil  2015 

Lisa Pressman believes her paintings embody a visual synthesis of stored memory - a metaphorical representation of the passage between human vibrancy and entropy. Causey Contemporary located at 29 Orchard St. in Manhattans lower east side will present a exhibition entitled Passing Through featuring Ms. Pressmans oil and encaustic paintings to the public from November 12 - December 13, 2015.   The exhibition will mark Lisas first solo exhibition with the gallery.  

The public is invited to join Ms. Pressman and gallery director, Tracy Causey-Jeffery at an opening reception on Friday, Nov. 13th from 6 - 8 p.m. - an appropriate choice of date for an exhibition that in Ms. Pressmans words sees to realize a direction connection between travel, observing the transience of images and time and the passing of my 99 year old mom.  The last week of her life she kept saying there is the train, there is the bus,.a riverboat. The imagery abstracted, modes of transport frozen in time and space.
Passing Through 1 12 x 12 oil, 2015 

Lisa Pressman, an American abstract painter, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1958. She earned her BA in Art from Douglass College, Rutgers University and her MFA from Bard College. Her work focuses on a visual synthesis of stored and personal memory.Lisas paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the USA and internationally including The Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ, The New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ, Butters Gallery, Portland, OR, Susan Eley Fine Arts, NY, NY, Causey Contemporary, NY,NY, Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ, Pallazo Dell'Annunziata, Matera, Italy, The Cape Cod Museum of Art, MA, Western Carolina State University Museum, NC,  and R&F Gallery, Kingston, NY.
Lisa is a core instructor for R&F Handmade Paints in Kingston, NY and a workshop instructor for Gamblin Artists Colors. She is an annual presenter and instructor at the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, MA and teaches workshops in  both encaustic and oil and cold wax mediums throughout the U.S.

Lisa currently lives and works in West Orange, New Jersey.

The Red Tableau, 38 x 48 oil 2015
A Foretold Joy 38 x 48 oil 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

“Contrasting Abstractions” opens October 8th, 6:00-8:00 pm, Gallery14 Maple, Morristown,NJ.

The Journey 36 x 76 oil on panel

 I am happy to have a variety of work included in this upcoming exhibition “Contrasting Abstractions” curated by,Virginia Fabbri Butera, PhD.

“Contrasting Abstractions” opens October 8th, 6:00-8:00pm, Gallery 14 Maple, Morristown, NJ.

Unspoken, 24 x 24 oil on panel

CONTRASTING ABSTRACTIONS. The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, with curator, Virginia Fabbri Butera, PhD, selected works by the following outstanding New Jersey artists, Christine Barney and Nancy Cohen (Jersey City), Susan Lisbin (Orange), Lisa Pressman (West Orange), Christine Tenaglia (Wildwood Crest), Ken Weathersby (Montclair) and Gail Winbury (Westfield).
The exhibit explores the artists’ varied approaches to abstraction – through the use of different media (glass, wood, fabric, paint, resin, handmade paper, wire, etc.), composition, color and vision. Christine Barney’s sculptural glass works highlight color and explore new geometric forms, while Susan Lisbin’s organic, almost anthropomorphic sculptures evoke whimsy and a sense of the fantastic. In Nancy Cohen’s hands, glass art assumes unexpected and fascinating organic forms – in combination with other media such as metal, glass, wire, handmade paper, and resin. Christine Tenaglia’s wood pieces have a sense of presence and monumentality far beyond their modest proportions while Ken Weathersby’s geometric approach to abstraction utilizes precise patterning and reveals underlying physical structures to engage his viewers. Gail Winbury’s lyrical abstract paintings showcase her distinctive use of color and design while Lisa Pressman’s works focus on line and hint at hidden codes through incorporation of alphabetic and numeric marks.
Curator Virginia Fabbri Butera, PhD, adds, “Since the mid-19th century, visual artists have been experimenting with the creation of non-figurative imagery in 2-D and 3-D objects. In this exhibition we have a wonderful opportunity to contemplate works by seven mid-career New Jersey artists who are focusing on important metaphors about contemporary abstraction. By manipulating varied substances, colors, and structures in nonrepresentational arrangements, the artists suggest energy, emotion, meaning and psychological inferences and interactions that underlie both 21st century art and life.”
The public is invited to view this exciting exhibit and to meet the artists at the free opening reception on October 8, 2015 from 6-8pm at Gallery at 14 Maple, a distinctive space located on the 3rd floor of the LEED certified “green” building at 14 Maple Avenue in Morristown, NJ. Refreshments will be served.”

I Know That 1 and 2 24 x 48 encaustic

- See more at:

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Passing Through and Moving  36 x 48 oil on panel 2015

I have an updated website that will be continuing to inform about exhibitions (NYC this Summer and this Fall) , new work from the studio, and exciting upcoming workshops. Please sign up here

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Incisive Line

Decipher 15   10 x10  encaustic, L  Pressman

The Incisive Line, Curated by Debra Claffey  including : Debra Claffey, Elizabeth Harris, Lisa Pressman and Amy Weil;  in conjunction with The Ninth International Encaustic Conference Curatorial Program

Opening: Thursday June 4, 2015  Hosted by Gallery 10, Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill, Truro, Massachusetts, June 2015.
Catalog for the exhibition :Claffey-IncisiveLine-catalog-1

“Pressman brings us to paint-laden abstraction. Graphic swaths of chromatic paint form the topmost layer of paintings that ask us to look deep into their surface, where scribed lines and scraped passages form a structural matrix. The broad strokes recall Franz Kline, while the overall markings and dense under lay- ers reference the paintings of Lee Krasner, but the result is uniquely the artist’s own.”
Written by Joanne Mattera, artist, writer, curator and director of the International Encaustic Conference . The Incisive Line. Published in conjunction with The Ninth International Encaustic Conference Curatorial Program.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Inside/Outside at R&F Handmade Paints, Review and Video

"Pressman’s dexterity in suggesting sensory experiences through the pure language of paint is not only evident in her inventive applications but also in her talents as a colorist" 
                             Lynn Woods, Kingston Times March 20 2015

                                          R&F Handmade Paints in Kingston, NY