About this body of work:
This work was created out of a need to organize and sift through an abundance of paper fragments from past works, the leftovers, if you will. Process always seems to be leading in my work. Movements that inform gesture, repetitive mark and pattern making, all are happenings that bring you into this moment. I am continually looking for ways to detach from the past and future with a focus on the here and now. Intuitively, I move in a general direction with a loose idea, letting the work tell me where it wants to go, problem solving. I adore the unexpected happy accident, the indirect, the less of my hand the better. There are many times, when what seems to be a certain mistake, if you consistently keep working, turns beautiful in the blink of an eye. Insight on meaning and content usually comes to the surface near the end of the process. Certainly the ‘Paper’ series are about mark making and passing time, but after writing and reflecting about each piece, this body of work seems to be about beginnings, awareness in the moment, synchronicity and the feminist wave. They reflect my personal awareness, but it is my hope they speak to a shared experience and enduring intention toward expanded consciousness. Fortunately, I feel they come across visually much more simply. All seriousness aside, perhaps they are painted papers, a spark to wake you up, made for enjoyment, a little levity. The paintings were handmade with love and sincerity. My best goes out with them.
Starting off with my all-time favorite… why do you do what you do?
What a good question. Over the years I have asked myself this on many occasion, usually, of course, when the road gets rough. I love making artwork, but witnessing the state of the world, I certainly would like to do more. I assume many feel this way. At times, painting appears antiquated, a deep and slow process for moving consciousness. Yet, it has moved me. Perhaps, that is where we all start, slowly with ourselves. Anyhow, I come from a family of artists. I have never known anything else. It’s the best talent I have to offer this world.
This body of work is done on Washi paper, which has a fascinating history and clearly, is the foundation for the gorgeous textures in this series. Could you give us a little more information about it?
Wa means Japanese and Shi means paper, simply referring to papers made in Japan. I use a lot of kozo, gampi and mulberry papers in my work. As with most artist, I have always drawn, painted and collaged with paper. I love the whole idea of paper, the essential quality for communication and story of peoples that goes along with that communication. Paper is personal and universal at once. It is translucent, weightless, touching the earth so lightly, reflecting the impermanence of life.
You use marble dust in this series. For those of us who aren’t familiar with this material, could you tell us a bit more about it and why you choose to use it (or how it effects the work)?
Marble dust is a natural ground pigment made from old rocks compressed with time. Artists have always used forms of natural pigments as a base for plasters, gessoes and frescoes. Colored mineral pigments also form the base of paints. It is interesting to think of the artist as alchemist on a quest, working with base materials. The marble dust itself brings a textural and architectural quality to the work. It reminds me of the old walls and structures at my grandmothers home in the country, a reflection from an older place and time. The solid material quality of the marble has a fascinating contrast with the translucent washi paper.
What’s a great piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Don’t take it personal” – woman at the market.
I enjoy asking this question because it gives us some insight into what you’re curious about… what are you currently reading?
I am usually reading several books at once, usually nonfiction. Right now, I am referencing the I Ching and studying about Ayurveda. I just started reading “The Guru Papers” by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad. Also, in response to finishing this body of work, I plan to reread “The Pink Swan” by Lucy R. Lippard.
What music do you listen to while you work?
Some of the time I work in silence. I like to listen to the rain, if it’s that type of day. When I do listen to music, I usually stream some jazz or classic African groove. Sometimes, I catch up on the news of the day. I was listening to George Harrisons’ “All Things Must Pass” the other day, a most exquisite album.
Lisa Weiss is an artist and educator from Tennessee. She received her MFA in Painting & Drawing from the Louisiana State University. She is included in numerous public and private collections through out America, Canada, Europe and Australia. She has the honor of being included in the Hunter Museum of American Art permanent collection. She taught art for many years at several national universities before devoting her time solely to creating. She currently works in her home studio in Murray, KY. Link to her personal website here.