July 10 – August 15, 2021

Lisa Samalin

At the Juncture of Dark and Light

Lisa Samalin, At the Juncture of Dark and Light Installation in Tent

About the Exhibit

Much of my work is autobiographical, overtly or covertly, but then I tend to see art that way, that it is after all our own story we tell one way or another. “At the Juncture of Dark and Light,” one of the interactive installations in the show is specifically and directly so, based around a letter I wrote and read at my aunt’s grave when she died at age 99 ½. It’s about healing from childhood trauma. The second installation, “Giving Out Apples in the Garden of Eden” shares the joy and understanding that has come in these years.

A few years back I did a series of large paintings on unstretched canvas called, “Self-Portrait as English Girl During the War,” “Self-Portrait as the Gypsy’s Daughter,” and so on. I was finding then that sometimes an image of another person or even an animal in places I have never physically been to, triggered a sense of self-recognition for me. And then after being dumb struck by a pilgrimage to see Rembrandt’s self-portraits at the Met, I leapt in to see what it would feel like to paint literal self-portraits. So they are here too.

The little collage pieces and artist books are part of my earliest art practice – – making paper dolls as a child. I especially loved the paper doll books with scenes (the beach! the zoo! a winter wonderland!) where you could cut the little slits and insert the tab on the feet of the doll and voila! I’m still doing it.

And then in the second half of this strange wonderful/ terrible year of Covid I moved to the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York and fell deeply in love (as I suspected I would) with painting the beauty I was suddenly immersed in. And the beauty seemed an extension of my own body – so I didn’t know where it ended and I began. So… landscapes on fabric—whatever was at hand, whatever I loved – shiny scraps, old cushion covers, filmy scarves…

This feels so right for me, connecting the outside natural world with interior and (for me) female domesticity. Is it about accepting the culture’s definitions or letting them go, about what was suffocating in confinement, and what within confinement had a freedom and an irrevocable sweetness of its own? Anyway some poignancy and paradox that I can’t put into words but keep painting.

To make art is for me a great and necessary joy.  For you to see it completes the circle. Thank you.

Lisa Samalin, Laundry Day, 2011, watercolor/collage, 10″ x 12″

Lisa Samalin, Self Portrait as English Girl During the War, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 7’6″ x 5’4″

Lisa Samalin, Do-over, 2011, acrylic on canvas with ribbon, 4’2″ x 4’6″

Lisa Samalin, Self Portrait as the Gypsy’s Daughter, 2015, acrylic on canvas with fabric, 7’2″ x 4’6″

Lisa Samalin, Past What the Patriarchy Sees, 2018, acrylic on canvas with rhinestone, 7’2″ x 5’2″

Lisa Samalin, The Advent of the Morning Glories or Self Portrait as Myself, 2017, acrylic on canvas with fabric, 7′ x 4’7″

Lisa Samalin, Bear, 2007-2021, watercolor/collage/found object/fabric, 15″ x 15.25″

Lisa Samalin, Nest, 2018, watercolor/collage, 8.75″ x 8.75″

Lisa Samalin, Umbrella, 2010, watercolor/collage, 13″ x 10″

Lisa Samalin, Underwear, 2007, watercolor/collage, 11″ x 14.25″

Lisa Samalin, Window, 2010, watercolor/collage, 6″ x 5″

Lisa Samalin, Standing Water, acrylic on canvas, 7′ x 3’5″

Lisa Samalin, Untitled Event II, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 7′ x 3’10”

Lisa Samalin, Giving Out Apples in the Garden of Eden Installation

Lisa Samalin, (untitled), 1994, watercolor/collage, 16″ x 13″

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 1, 2019, acrylic on curtain, 31.5″ x 32.5″

Lisa Samalin, Hyderabed Dusk, 2018, acrylic on fabric, 27″ x 21″

Lisa Samalin, Yonkers Day, 2019, acrylic on fabric, 25″ x 16″

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 8, 2021, acrylic on fabric, 26.5″ x 19.5″

Lisa Samalin, Hyderabed Dusk, 2018, acrylic on fabric, 27″ x 21″

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 6, 2020, acrylic on fabric, 35.5″ x 32″

Lisa Samalin, Dinner, 2019, acrylic on fabric, 33.5″ x 30″

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 3, 2020, acrylic on fabric, 28″ x 20.5″

Lisa Samalin, Yonkers Evening, 2019, acrylic on fabric, 30″ x 20.5″

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 5, 2020, acrylic on curtain, 31″ x 28″

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 7, 2020, acrylic on scarf, 27″ x 30″

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 4, 2020, acrylic on fabric, 39″ x 39″

About the Artist

Lisa Samalin, Band Camp Road 9, 2021, acrylic on cushion cover, 29″ x 27″

Lisa Samalin was born in New York City in 1947. She attended the School of Visual Arts for two years before dropping out (it was the ‘60s!). While there she studied with Barry Cohen, one of the wonderful Josef Albers disciples from Yale and drank in the beautiful purity of their way of making art and reverence for color. She returned in her 30’s to finish her BFA but made art before, during and after, all her life.

She designed textiles in the 1970’s and 1980’s, enhancing her love of pattern and worked as a textile colorist, creating new palettes for existing patterns, which she credits with further training her sensitivity to color and ability to mix color quickly.

Hours

Thursday 12-5
Friday-Saturday 12-6
Sunday 12-5
Closed Holidays

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Jane St Art Center