Lisa MccutcheonSan Anselmo, CA
I am interested in issues of conformity and it’s consequences, mimicry and ambiquity, while also attempting to tease out both the beauty and sadness in the trees and tree-like forms which are the subjects of this series of paintings. Environmental issues are of great concern, yet my work is more focused at a local level and is motivated by the heavy pruning and mutilation of trees in my neighborhood. I am at once drawn to and saddened by the unnatural and anemic shape these trees take on as a result of conforming to the confines of the neighborhood. Sadness and vulnerability come into play while also attempting to uncover the underlying beauty and whimsy of each tree.
Notions of ambiguity and mimcry enter into the work from a past obsession in both anatomy and medicine. This early interest imbues the imagery in this current series allowing areas of the trees to vacillate from a gnarled branch to glandular-like forms and branches sprout threads that could be either moss or hair. Sutures attempt to hold together bark that resembles skin and suggests an attempt to heal the injury brought on by the assault I have described.
On a more formal level, the work straddles the line between drawing and painting. This element is important because I feel the awkwardly shaped branches and trunks are balanced by the delicacy of the markmaking. The pieces are almost all on semi-transparent Mylar and Yupo paper and are large scale. The Mylar pieces are intended to hang scroll-like and slightly recessed from the wall. They tend to react slighty to the airflow created by each passer- by. Indeed, this diaphanous quality to the Mylar and the translucent quality of the paint I use is crucial, I feel, in creating this play.
Born and raised in the suburbs just outside Chicago, Lisa McCutcheon decided to pursue painting as a direct result of her mother, a painter, who had attended the Chicago Art Instititue. Lisa relocated to San Francisco and eventually decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in both sociology and exercise physiology at University of San Francisco and even consided pursuing the field of the ‘The Sociology of an Artist’. This clearly was not an option since this really involved having to be an outsider vis a vis the art world. This was the turning point and she began her MFA work in painting at the San Francisco Art Insititute. Lisa has shown at various group shows since graduating from SFAI in 2002 and most recently was included in the up-coming NURTUREart annual benefit in New York, the annual auction and exhibition at the San Jose Institution of Contemporary Art, the Marin MOCA Fall Annual curated by Renny Pritikin, and “Macro/Micro: Subject Matter Without a Sense of Scale”, at Lobot Gallery in Oakland. Moreover, teaching and mentoring have become a large part of her professonal career which includes individual critiques with students as well as numerous classes at the San Francisco Art Institute over the past decade.