Lisa Alley

When I paint, reality changes – time extends and flashes by in an instant, ideas surrounding expectations, values, norms and dramas become inconsequential. It is a meditation and a practice in dissolving unconscious societal influences.

I am purposefully playful in my abstract work, using a myriad of tools and mediums to experiment with movement, color and assumptions. I affix braids of thread, accent explosive brushstrokes with impasto mediums, tip the canvas to create drip lines, or cover with resin to create a mirror-like surface where I can see myself literally reflected. I push to surprise, to extend my lines outside the predetermined confines. My abstracts are for bucking constraints of societal norms and personal criticisms, shown in charcoal grids that are openly disregarded, in bright, optimistic palettes, with novel materials like tassels and yarn looped throughout. 

In figurative pieces, I address themes around the fallacy of expectations and exposing fault lines. In my current series, the bathtub is the point of departure to discuss women & female identifying persons’ treatment in modern society. The tub becomes symbolic of a burial, its shape representative of a coffin, a connotation of submersion, drowning. The bathtub is also a place of refuge. It’s where femininity loses its performative aspect. It’s self indulgence, self care, self acknowledgement. Alone time. The bold nudity and eye contact of the subjects confronts a tradition of women primarily depicted by men in art and media, presented often as complacent, demure objects of adornment, servitude – contributing to the idea that they can be discarded when they don’t fit into the molds built for them. 

I paint turbulence through exaggerated color and texture, using thick strokes to make the subject and water vibrate. Sculptural elements lend further implications: a transparent resin sleeve mimicking the pattern of water overlays the more traditional oil – suggesting a cage, trap, separation. This focus on materiality and form culminates in an interactive, multimedia experience that centers on defying cultural norms that place women into traditional boxes that are often dangerous in their construction.