April 16th - June 11th, 2023
Stellarhighway is pleased to announce The Theatricality of Form, featuring recent biomorphic paintings and ceramics by Susan Lisbin on view in person at our Crown Heights, New York project space, and continuing online with six gestural canvases from her 'Madagascar' series dating to the early 2000s.
Susan Lisbin was born in the Bronx in 1948 and has been severely hard of hearing since the age of two. She grew up in New Jersey and earned an MFA in painting from Montclair State University in 1980, studying under the Abstract Expressionist Leon de Leeuw. After graduating, Lisbin befriended Ronald Feldman of Parasol Press, who introduced her to Mary Boone and Barbara Gladstone. Though her work was well-received, she became pregnant and focused on raising her family in New Jersey. Then, in 1995 after having maintained a private studio for over a decade, she reached out to Brice Marden in a letter with some of her work; he responded with feedback and direction, ultimately inspiring her to break from Minimalist grids in pursuit of pure abstraction. Lisbin met success in the latter half of the 1990s, including a solo show at Howard Scott Gallery. Shortly thereafter, she began working as a full time teacher, and despite only being able to concentrate on her studio in her free time, she received many solo, two-person and group shows at galleries and museums in and around New York City. Since 2015, Lisbin has been able to commit herself fully to painting and sculpture. She is a dedicated experimentalist, delving into the media and methodologies of abstraction to investigate the theatricality of form, line and color. About her work, she states: “I create by reacting to the process of the media and to what develops unconsciously as my emotions and thoughts appear to me on canvas or take shape in three-dimensions.”
Though they measure just over three-feet high, the richly hued canvases in this presentation feel monumental. They are elusive; decisive yet wandering, hovering in the fluid space between abstraction and representation, often standing with a foot in both. Works like Testing Waters and The Unfolding unveil the living potential of abstract forms, suggesting objects, beings, body parts, and landscapes. The six works online from Lisbin’s 'Madagascar' series act similarly, though they exist more loosely as embryonic arrangements of shape, gesture, line and color. Her five ceramic sculptures also on view seem to have erupted or coagulated from these surrounding canvases. These, too, feel playful, frustrated, adventurous and sexually-charged. Their static human scale seems to harmonize her shifting, incorporeal paintings, as if working toward the same goal from opposite ends. Lisbin describes both media as a physical and sensual experience, however she finds the gestural possibilities of ceramics different than those of painting, holding clay as direct and articulated with paint tending toward the automatic, nebulous and expansive.
Susan Lisbin (b. 1948) is a painter and a sculptor who has spent the past six decades observing people, objects and the environments they inhabit. Lisbin’s work has been shown extensively, including a solo show at Howard Scott Gallery in New York in 1996 and another at William Paterson University in New Jersey in 2008. More recently Lisbin’s work has been the subject of solo and two-person exhibitions at HiLo, Catskill, NY; Catherine Fosnot Gallery, New London, CT; Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY; Carter Burden Gallery, New York, NY; and, Carrie Chen Gallery, Great Barrington, MA. Her work has also been exhibited at Foreland Catskill in a group show curated by Jesse Greenberg; at Parallel Vienna 2022 with Andreas Schlichtner in Vienna, Austria; and in group shows at Carter Burden Gallery, New York, NY; Ceres Gallery, New York, NY; Emerge Gallery, Saugerties, NY; Woodstock Artist Association, Woodstock, NY; and, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ. Lisbin was awarded a studio at The New School in 1976, and has been a resident at Vermont Studio Center and Horned Dorset Art Colony. Her work is on permanent display at Metro East 99th Street Adult Day Program in New York, NY and at Columbia Green Community College in Hudson, NY. Lisbin lives and works in Catskill, NY and maintains a studio at Foreland.