Press Release: Domestic Memory

Featuring: Marisa Adesman, Lisa A. Foster, Janet Loren Hill, Julianne Wallace Sterling

April 20 - June 1, 2018
Opening Reception: May 4th 6 - 9 pm

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Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is proud to present Domestic Memory, an exhibition featuring four artists whose work depicts the human form through the use of household materials. Lisa A. Foster's patchwork silhouettes constructed from colonial and civil war era reproduction fabrics, and Janet Loren Hill's use of knit motifs draw on the historically feminine tradition of sewing and knitting. While Marisa Adesman's depictions of women covered in frosting and Julianne Wallace Sterling's nude drawings on meat trays focus on the way we consume the female form. Placing equal (if not heavier) emphasis on the materials used rather than the subject depicted, each artist strives to evoke commonalities amongst the viewers.

Marisa Adesman masks her subjects under layers of painted frosting or hinders their features with colorful cellophane. In her hyperrealistic paintings, Adesman investigates how the grotesque and erotic can coexist through the gluttonous application of frosting, a material with sensual connotations. The women become unrecognizable, monster or alien-like with often just an eye, tight lips, or strands of matted hair hinting at who is below. Adesman aims to empower her female subjects, by rejecting societal perceptions, expectations, and constructions of femininity.

Lisa A. Foster combines painting and textiles into two-dimensional works that use the human figure to create unexpected shapes within and between her subjects through the configuration of their bodies. The reproduction fabrics that she uses are primarily from the colonial and civil war eras, carrying their own history and emotion. For Foster, the process of making art is just as crucial as the product. The artistic process was initially a means to cope with the Dissociative Identity Disorder that she developed as a child. Foster's long process of self-realization has recently progressed her artwork from an introspective, self-portrait based approach to representing a broader female prospective.

Janet Loren Hill's three-dimensional artworks flip traditional gender roles through the portrayal of intimate moments in her long-term partnership. Hill's artwork is a projection of her own fantasies onto her husband, which she draws from movies, imaginings, and characters encountered throughout life. The back of her husband's head is thickly painted on canvas covered foam squares, similar to couch cushions and often decorated with knit and crocheted motifs. Her materials are intentionally reminiscent of familiar household objects, often sewn together. In Towel Tight Between Your Red Hot Thighs, the voyeur witnesses a private moment of two people sleeping, heighted by Hill's canvas and foam construction that mimics a found mattress leaning against the side of the road; discarded but still possessing the intimate memories from its former owner.

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Julianne Wallace Sterling challenges her traditional figurative style by exploring the use of non-traditional mediums. Her meat tray series depicts lounging women with sprawled legs and arched backs on Styrofoam meat trays, with all implications intended. Influenced by Wallace Stegner's novel, Angle of Repose, these drawings are Sterling's attempt to find her own "angle of repose," the maximum slope at which loose solid material will remain in place without sliding.

Marisa Adesman has studied at Washington University in St. Louis, Yale University's Summer School of Music and Art, Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy, and is currently an MFA candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design. Adesman has received residencies at Brooklyn Art Space, Brooklyn, NY and the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT. Her work has been exhibited at the Rhode Island School of Design, Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York, NY, Sol Koffler Gallery, Providence, RI and Memorial Hall Gallery, Providence, RI. In 2018, Adesman will exhibit her work at Black Mountain College, Asheville, NC.

Lisa A. Foster works from her home studio in Longmeadow, MA. Foster has shown in numerous galleries in New England and around the nation including Arts Worcester, Art Market in San Francisco, and Abigail Ogilvy Gallery. Her work has been selected for the Art Sale at SMFA at Tufts in 2016 and 2010. Foster has attended studio and academic courses at several schools including Georgetown University, Boston College, Harvard, and Tufts University. Her work has been shown in Boston, New York, Hartford, and Western Mass.

Janet Loren Hill received her BFA from University of Washington and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has exhibited at numerous galleries nationally including Field Projects Gallery (NY, NY), Blindfold Gallery (Seattle, WA), and most recently at Stone Gallery's 2017 exhibition of "Boston Young Contemporaries." The past two years, she has attended Vermont Studio Center on artist grants. Elisabeth Sherman, Assistant Curator at Whitney Museum of American Art, recently selected and highlighted Hill's work in New American Painting's 2017 MFA Annual edition.

Julianne Wallace Sterling is a Bay Area painter born in Southern California. She graduated from UC Riverside with a BS in Economics and pursued post-baccalaureate studies in art at San Francisco State. Her work has been exhibited at Dacia Gallery in New York, A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato and Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland. She was awarded first prize at Marin Museum of Contemporary Art's 2010 Juried Annual. Her work has been written about in the San Francisco Chronicle, art ltd. and the East Bay Express. She had a Solo Exhibition at Mercury Twenty Gallery in Oakland, CA in 2017. In 2018, Sterling will be showing at Arc Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

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Artist Spotlight: Lisa A. Foster

Fragmented and unified. Nostalgic and present. Personal and universal.
Lisa Foster's paradoxical portraits are visually striking with their rich colors and mosaic of textiles. 

In her recent body of work, Foster combines painting and textiles in her two-dimensional works, revealing the contours and silhouettes of her patchwork female subjects.

  Ready set GO!  , cotton reproduction quilting fabrics, acrylic and medium on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

Ready set GO! , cotton reproduction quilting fabrics, acrylic and medium on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

Each of Foster's paintings begin as a form in her mind, which she acts out in front of a camera and then translates onto canvas. Her unique, recognizable style emerged after she developed an aversion to the smell of oil paints when pregnant with her first child. Her Nana, who she calls her first artistic inspiration, had been a quilter. The pregnancy provided the perfect opportunity to return to those familiar fabrics and incorporate them as a material in her work. Foster chooses the fabric pattern for each piece from 250-300 different fabrics on-hand depending on whatever catches her eye while sketching for a new painting. The reproduction fabrics that she uses are primarily from the colonial and civil war eras. Foster explains, "This was an aesthetic and conceptual choice. Visually they provide more of a folk, and historical feel in color and pattern." The fabric as a medium carries its own history, emotion, and context. Think back to the cozy, patchwork throws from your childhood...A quilt is a representation of identity, a source of comfort, a family heirloom, and a rebirth of materials. In resurrecting the historically feminine tradition of quilt-making, Foster has masterfully transformed a craft material into a unique fine art medium. 

For Foster, the process of making art is just as crucial as the product. The artistic process was initially a means to cope with the Dissociative Identity Disorder that she developed as a child. After traumatic experiences left her fractured, the process of making art became a sort of therapy in her journey to becoming whole again. In 2010, her work began to drift into self portraits and then nude self-portraits. She explains, "The body of work I created [up until last year] provides a personal narrative to my life. It became a way to know myself better, a method of self-communication and healing. It was also a means to share what I had gone through and was struggling with, without actually saying it. I was simultaneously hiding behind, and revealing myself, through my work. It was a means of not being isolated by trauma. It was my path back to life."

  Evoking Eleanor,  cotton reproduction quilting fabrics, acrylic and medium on canvas, 60 x 60 in.

Evoking Eleanor, cotton reproduction quilting fabrics, acrylic and medium on canvas, 60 x 60 in.

Just as the act of quilting brings together fragmented pieces to create something whole, the act of painting and creating her portraits was similarly reparative to Foster's sense of self. As she patched herself back up with the pieces of fabrics, she simultaneously mended her own identity.

Foster's long process of self-realization has recently progressed her artwork from an introspective, self-portrait based approach to representing a broader female perspective. She identifies a shift in her work occurring in the past year; "Last year, the work I was making no longer felt imperative. I also felt uncomfortable with the nudity, which was new. Both of these were signs to me that I was either done being an artist or there was something else for me to make." The transition away from nudity in her work was attributed to a new discomfort, but more importantly, boredom. Nudity had begun to dictate a certain kind of expression, and she was ready to venture elsewhere in her work.

In the past year, Foster's work has grown to be more independent of her turbulent past. In her words, "My work is less personal now, it no longer feels burdened by my past and my story. I am using my body to illustrate the female form, and speak more broadly from there." 

  Crawling Woman ,    cotton reproduction quilting fabrics, acrylic and medium on canvas, 72 x 48 in. 

Crawling Woman cotton reproduction quilting fabrics, acrylic and medium on canvas, 72 x 48 in. 

 

See Lisa Foster's work in Domestic Memory, a group exhibition on view April 20 - June 1, 2018.