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.


Can you name five women artists?

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) asks the same question every March in honor of Women’s History Month by promoting the hashtag #5womenartists. Launched in 2016, this viral social media campaign hopes to spark a conversation about gender parity in the arts.

Whether your answer to the question is yes or no, below are five female artists working or exhibiting in the Boston area that you should know by name. The numerous accolades of these incredible artists bring to light the challenges facing women in the industry and the obstacles to notoriety and recognition that do not seem to exist for their male counterparts:

  Anna Schuleit Haber. O46 Guilty Conscience .  mixed media on paper. 34 3/4 x 27 in .

Anna Schuleit Haber. O46 Guilty Conscience . mixed media on paper. 34 3/4 x 27 in.

Anna Schuleit Haber

The artist behind our current solo exhibition, “Scientific Purposes”Anna Schuleit Haber boasts an impressive resume. She has studied painting at RISD, creative writing/book arts at Dartmouth College, and was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard. In 2006, she was named a Macarthur Fellow for work that has “conceptual clarity, compassion, and beauty.” Schuleit Haber's current work includes The Voice Imitator project, an ongoing series of 104 paintings based on a collection of short stories by Austrian writer, Thomas Bernhard. These are just a few of the many accomplishments Schuleit Haber's resume boasts.

  Marisa Adesman. Vertumnus' Bride . oil on canvas. 60 x 48 in.

Marisa Adesman. Vertumnus' Bride. oil on canvas. 60 x 48 in.



Marisa Adesman

Marisa Adesman subverts the typical theme of female subjects as objects of beauty by ornamenting them with gluttonous gobs of vibrant-colored frosting. The addition of this decadent piping on her paintings presents a poignant critique of society and grotesque depiction of objectified femininity. Adesman explains, "I investigate the ways in which the aesthetics of the grotesque and of the erotic can coexist by painting female subjects covered in frosting. Other male artists who work with similar subject matter often exploit the erotic for the male gaze – allowing their women to become spectacles and objects of sexual fantasy. However, I strive to subvert and deny these obvious connotations of this household material". You can view Ademsan's work in person during the April exhibition at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery.




  Noelle Fiori. Festering Wound . acrylic and collage on panel. 30 x 24 in. Image courtesy of

Noelle Fiori. Festering Wound. acrylic and collage on panel. 30 x 24 in. Image courtesy of


Noelle Fiori

Described as a contemporary, feminist collage artist, Noelle Fiori produces work in response to the negatively skewed perception of beauty and sexuality being disseminated through the mass media today. Her collages both literally and figuratively dismantle the female image to produce a manufactured and altered persona which directly engages the issues of beauty, sexuality, exploitation, and complicity that affect young women.  





Wangechi Mutu

Wangechi Mutu was born in Nairobi, Kenya and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In her new commission for the ICA Boston, titled A Promise to Communicate, Mutu addresses the idea of an emerging global community that is unable to effectively communicate. The wall installation depicts an arrangement of the world continents, “sculpted” from the rough, gray rescue blankets commonly used by humanitarian aid organizations. In her artwork, Mutu frequently explores questions of collective trauma, gender politics, and environmental devastation. She avoids being confined to any one medium, and explores her artistic talent through painting collage, sculpture, performance, and video.

  Wangechi Mutu, photo courtesy of  ICA Boston

Wangechi Mutu, photo courtesy of ICA Boston

  Erased . oil on panel. 12 x 9 in.

Erased. oil on panel. 12 x 9 in.

Ariel Basson Freiberg

One of our represented artists, Ariel Basson Freiberg, is a Boston-based painter who explores female sexuality and the objectification of women in her vibrant oil paintings. She holds an MFA in painting from Boston University and a BA from Smith College. In June 2017, she debuted performance and installation “love like salt” at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and this year, “Amnesia” will be the cover of Definitions of Feminine Post Conflict Spaces. Her work is currently on display at UMass Boston’s University Hall Gallery as part of the all-female exhibition, HARD: Subversive Representation

Now, it’s your turn to ask the question: “Can you name #5WomenArtists?”

Art Fair Guide: NYC March 2018

As winter is leaving and spring is around the corner, New York City is getting ready to host their annual art fairs spanning from March 7 - March 11, 2018. Here are just a few you should be sure to check out:

The Armory Show 2018:
The Armory Show is a four day long event that will be featuring 193 galleries from 31 countries. This is the biggest art show in New York; with artwork that ranges from historical masterpieces to the latest 20th-and 21st-century contemporary art. Boston's very own Jen Mergel is one of the curators this year, along with Gabriel Ritter (Minneapolis Institute of Art) and Naomi Beckwith (MCA Chicago). Make sure to arrive early in the day and wear your comfortable shoes, the line to get into this fair is known to be two hours or longer as the day progresses! 

Location: Piers 92 & 94, 711 12th Avenue at 55th Street, NY

 NADA NYC 2017


NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance):
The New Art Dealers Alliances’ 2018 show is another fantastic annual fair that focuses on supporting and advancing new voices in contemporary art. The fair is known for the wide variety of artwork, from emerging to more established galleries. We always enjoy the NADA Projects section of the fair, where you can discover and support new galleries - most have been operating for less than five years. The diversity of the artwork in this fair lends itself to the snap-happy social mediites looking for notable finds.

Location: Skylight Clarkson Sq, at 550 Washington St, NY

 Volta 2017: Alex Gardner paintings at  Taubert Contemporary

Volta 2017: Alex Gardner paintings at Taubert Contemporary

VOLTA NY will showcases solo exhibitions by established and emerging international artists. This is one of our favorite fairs to attend because each booth offers a cohesive body of work by a single artist, allowing the gallery to showcase a thematic booth - unlike the more chaotic spread of artworks you might find at the other fairs. Their goal is to attract both new and seasoned collectors alike through this more approachable format of solo booths.

Location: Pier 90, 711 12th Avenue at West 50th Street, NY

Spring/Break Art Show:
Spring/Break Art Show will be presenting their 2018 show titled “Stranger Comes to Town” with artwork that showcases foreignness, migration, assimilation, and the articulation of Them or Us incorporated into their artwork. Andrew Gori and Ambre Kelly founded the art fair in 2009, and since then it has become one of the top fairs to attend during art fair week. Known for the well-curated, thought-provoking rooms that tell a story beyond the artworks that surround you. By including new and established curators, the fair lends itself to a unique and interesting experience each year.