John Seed Interviews Lisa Pressman
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
29 Orchard Street, NYC
Opening is Friday, November 13th, 6-8
The show runs through 12/13/2015
View the exhibition catalog onlinehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seed/lisa-pressman-passing-thr_b_8506526.html