Lisa Bryson is an established American contemporary figurative painter. In 2017, the same year as earning her Master of Fine Arts in Painting and a Teaching Fellowship from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Lisa’s work was exhibited in the highly competitive Manifest International Exhibition Master Pieces. In 2018 she was awarded the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant in painting.
As an artist she respects the nature of her chosen medium, subject matter and approach. However, she is acutely aware that in doing so she may be judged as being out of step with the contemporary art scene, a perception she will keenly refute. She cautions critics not to dismiss figurative work as traditional or purely representational, as contemporary concepts are often present and speak of current culture and experience. Now that experimental conceptual work is no longer new and shiny, and can be judged as a valid approach rather than beating a new path, there is a ground swell of opinion shifting perceptions about contemporary figurative work. Traditional studio practice and conceptual treatise have never been mutually exclusive, and Lisa Bryson’s work is a case in point.
She explains, “The mastery of the past is continually recalibrated into our current visual culture vernacular. Re-interpreting, appropriation are common contemporary art practices, such as, Marko Velk’s The Retriever re-interprets Francis Bacon’s assimilation of Diego Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X. These actions are mirrored in my work. Rembrandt, Goya, Freud, Bacon, Schiele, Kollwitz, historical mentors resonate in how I present the psychology of human experience. The work, however, does not reside in the past; content alongside inspiration derived from such artists as Alex Kanevsky, Sophie Jodoin, and Anne Gale ensure relevancy. We can, as artists, utilize the past, while questioning the present to perpetuate a relevant, dynamic visual vocabulary that informs and possibly forms our future.”
Lisa Bryson’s work articulates human experience in a moment of time, pregnancy, birth, aging, and isolation. This is set within the pervasive context of how social media is changing the way we communicate and experience the world. She says, “In an era of high speed, real-time global communication (texting, instant messaging, social media), the art of interpersonal (face-to-face) communication has greatly changed. Public is the new private, and conversation is technology driven. The practice of social networking on portable devices, in common public settings, is the norm in contemporary society. Ease of access informs popular culture; appropriation and reinterpretation are postmodern practices that permeate all facets of society. Lines are blurred. Connectivity in tandem with appropriation is presumed ubiquitous, however, the flipside, if acknowledged, disassociation and lack of true identity also exist. The intent for the work, through direct observation and documentation, is to redefine and challenge societal norms and social interactions.”
Lisa Bryson’s paintings express the search for a transient moment of clarity in the milieu of noise. In an interview for the National Association of Women Artists, she explains her intent. “My work fractures the human form, reaches below the surface into the psychological, addressing issues of physical abuse, victimization, isolation and fear. I remain enthralled by the human figure, but am driven to find ways to expand on figurative representation as it pertains to our current trends and contemporary visual culture.