My paintings, drawings and installations operate at the juncture where human nature and mother nature collide. Combining order and symmetry with chance and the uncontrollable, I strive to create a symbiosis between the two. Relentlessly, I search for clues as to how opposing elements work together. In nature, contradiction and collaboration live side by side with an understanding that both are vital. My daily excursions into the untouched natural world provide me with an acute awareness of the components at work there. Drawing on these experiences, light, shadow, organic forms and layering are incorporated into my work. Yet, I am most interested in the synergy of contrasts and the consequences of human intervention. In the crevices of the industrial, urban landscape and the subtle social interactions of humans, I discover elements I want to integrate into each painting and installation. My objective is to build an ‘environment’, a vista formed on the basis of collaborative contrast and embedded with human perceptions.
Since 2006, Lisa Kellner has been creating and exhibiting her paintings, drawing and installations throughout the United States. Her career commenced with an exhibition at the Washington Project for the Arts in DC and a site specific four room installation sponsored by Transformer Gallery, also in DC. From there her work as been included in exhibitions at the Islip Art Museum (NY), the Bellevue Arts Museum (WA), the Brooklyn Arts Council (NY), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (NY), the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (FL) and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (ME). Lisa has worked with a variety of galleries and received reviews and mentions in local and national papers including: the New York Times, the Washington Post and Sculpture Magazine. In 2016, she was awarded the New Media Invitational from the Target Gallery at the Torpedo Factory. She was also a Joan Mitchell semi-finalist. Having lived in Australia, Jamaica, the United States and Europe, Lisa currently resides on a small island off the coast of Maine.
What is a Painting in Space?
Paintings in Space are site-responsive room sized installations where the painted silk “canvas” has been removed from the stretcher bars and placed in three-dimensional space. (Read an ARTICLE here). Silk enables me to experiment spatially while using it symbolically as a facade-like structure. It is deceptively strong, yet ethereal in nature. The silk holds shape and bares the burden of pigment. It allows shadow and light to play a role in the work. Chemicals are never used to make these works. Only water, pigments, air and the sun. Often I incorporate compost, ocean water and other natural resources into the painting process. Other elements such as wall painting, lighting elements and wood structures are integrated into the “painting”.
As Paintings in Space, one can enter into the painting, experiencing it from within. These works are intended to be immersive. The translucent quality of the silk allows for dimensionality, shadows and layering to be painting components. Yes, it is the viewers that become the final component of the painting.
In 1931, when Yervand Kochar invented the art movement, "Les Peintures dans l`espace" in Paris. He proposed that a combination of painting, sculpture and mechanics could become one and transcend the work into a painting in motion. Kochar wanted to expand visual thinking. I too aim to challenge how a painting is experienced. My primary concern is utilizing spatial concerns to challenge how we define and experience painting.
Currently, I am making video projections that create a virtual Painting in Space, completely unencumbered by physical space.
Can you tell me about the oil paintings?
This Land, Our Land and What is Given are part of an ongoing series of oil paintings that take the well-used utilitarian object and transform it into an emotive landscape. I have long been interested in the histories of the most mundane objects, the significance they hold and the meanings they convey. With these paintings I want to impart a semblance of that emotional terrain, turning the object imbued with age and imperfection into a panorama that conflates still life with landscape.
How do you choose your materials?
I have always operated from the standpoint that the idea should guide the work, not the technique or material. Therefore, I choose my materials based on what I am trying to communicate in a particular work. For example, I use Mylar instead of paper to create paintings that automatically incorporate an ethereal quality into the work. My paintings on stretched silk become a vehicle to express the use of the superficial layer and facades in general. I relish exploring the boundaries of a particular material and how well I can get it to support the idea at hand.
I am currently working on a new project with materials I have never used before. The challenge is exciting and invigorating.
“It is as if the artist teased the pigment off a canvas, artfully stretching it in midair for a brief moment in time before it snaps back into place. Color as the sole remnant of memory would likely please Kellner, as in the end this is the very definition of a painting, making Kellner the latest, modern embodiment of a painter.”
Eric Hope, East City Arts; Washington, DC
“With an unparalleled level of self-awareness, Lisa Kellner’s artwork explores the particular struggle between running wild and restraint. In a serene Cambridge corner, Gallery 263 is currently home to the artist’s latest exhibition, Surface Consumption. Kellner’s painting, embroidery, and sculpture seek unity within the volatile relationship between control and chaos.”
Maryam Raad; Boston Hassle. Boston, MA
“Merging patterns and colors from nature with the human penchant for order and symmetry, Kellner’s ethereal paintings on silk and her site-specific installations capture the intangible, lyrical quality of space and expand the vocabulary of painting.”
Suzette McAvoy, Director & Chief Curator, Center for Maine Contemporary Art
“Conceptually challenging and also using the most unusual combination of materials, Lisa Kellner has four works in which she combines photographs printed on silk, paper or other materials; snippets of text and architectural elements including real metal door hinges. The resulting imagery prompts one to think about human skin as a "canvas" on which other images and objects can be placed. These works have a somewhat milky look that makes it difficult to get a clear reading on humanity."
Mike Giuliano, Howard County Times; MD
with Kate Singleton
Buy Some Damn Art
by By Maryam Raad
“WENT THERE: Surface Consumption Finding Equilibrium in Expression.”
by Kriston Capps
Washington, DC ‘Here and Now’, Transformer Gallery
by Eric Hope
East City Arts Reviews:
“Always Into Now at the Torpedo Factory”