Artist Spotlight: Lisa Fromartz
EuropeNow Can you tell us a little about yourself and about the kind of art you create?
Lisa Fromartz I have done paintings, sculpture, collage, prints, and public art projects. Currently, I am developing large sculpture for a public art project. My work is an attempt to reflect both the complexity and the connectedness of everything in a way that is visually powerful enough to engage the viewer while subverting ordinary perceptions. Artistic practice is visible but not foregrounded as my primary focus. My choice, as an artist, to engage in a daily struggle to make sense of things and to express it in two and three dimensions, while potentially interesting in and of itself, does not take me where I want to go. I want my work to express both the impossibility of fully understanding our predicament, and the passionate desire to confront it, to see what’s in front of us with clear eyes and a sense of wonder, and to imagine the rest. I want the viewer to be more than edified. I want her to be moved.
EuropeNow What about your primary medium do you like best?
Lisa Fromartz Creative thinking and inventiveness are what keep me motivated as an artist, perhaps more than any particular medium. In going from two to three dimensions or changing mediums, a dialogue develops. Sometimes a group of work contains layers of other works. To create the ZENO series, I projected light through my three dimensional assemblages, photographed fragments, then further manipulated them digitally to create prints. These pieces then served as the compositional basis for my recent large scale paintings. Utilizing different approaches and mediums sparks ideas, and takes my work in unexpected directions.
EuropeNow Can you tell us about your creative process?
Lisa Fromartz All of my work is an expression of my process of constantly questioning my relationship to the visual images and content I encounter daily. In my collages, prints, and assemblages, I take commercial materials, found objects, and printed images, all culturally coded by their original, intended contexts, and recombine them in a kind of visual mash-up, a remix of unintended juxtapositions that assigns new value and meaning. Collage and assemblage as compositional strategies allow me to be improvisational as well as intentional. My process of selecting and sifting these images and objects is my way of being mindful in the face of an expanding universe of information aimed at shaping our thoughts and emotions.
EuropeNow What is your favorite aspect of your art?
Lisa Fromartz It is the process, the excitement of taking the glimmer of an idea from pure imagination to the physical reality of a piece of art. There is a kind of nervous anticipation in exploring the idea, that initial impulse, and trying to breathe life into it. My studies give me direction but, invariably, as it starts to come alive, it’s the breaking away from the thing I first imagined and embracing the surprise, the unanticipated, the danger and the pleasure of the risk taking, that engages me.
EuropeNow Can you tell us a little about the piece you donated for this auction?
Lisa Fromartz LONU, the painting in this auction, is part of a recent group of paintings. After making collage based work that utilized a vocabulary of mass media imagery combined with geometric and painterly elements, I felt the urge to work purely with paint again. It’s exciting, sensual, and intellectually challenging to load the brush with paint and move it across a canvas with the intention of making a completed work–wherever that may lead. I wanted to get back into the paint: to draw, brush, pour, and throw it into something that felt open and expansive.
Lisa Fromartz I remembered reading of an archaeologist who said that when he discovered a shard of an ancient pot, its curve suggested not only the complete piece of pottery but the civilization that produced it. I had this image in my head of a kind of dynamic continuum, a combination of pure geometric form and gestural marks that would extend beyond the frame of the canvas and reference the immense energy and mystery of the larger universe, seen and mostly unseen. This image, and the impulse that accompanied it, felt simultaneously grandiose and essential.
Lisa Fromartz’s work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum. It is also in private, public, and corporate collections including Goldman Sachs, Prudential Bank, and Agnes Gund. Fromartz’s art has been featured in exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, including JanKossen Contemporary, Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts, and Walter Randel Gallery in New York City; Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the San Diego Art Institute; de Achterstraat in Netherlands; Galerie arting in Cologne; Galerie J. J. Donguy in Paris; and Galerie Het Getal O in Amsterdam. Born in Brooklyn, Fromartz attended Cooper Union and Pratt Institute. Lisa Fromartz lives and works in New York City.
Lillian Klein is the programs coordinator at the Council for European Studies. She holds a B.A. in literature with a minor in religious studies from Barnard College, as well as an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University. Previously, Lillian assisted in the Memberships, Programs, and Awards Department at PEN America Center. She also served as a teaching fellow at Paris American Academy’s writing program for two consecutive summers.
Christie’s Education (CE) New York has entered into a collaborative partnership with the Council for European Studies at Columbia University (CES). A first joint project is a forthcoming online auction, the proceeds of which will be used to create a new scholarship to be awarded to a CES-CE applicant. The featured work in this article has been donated to the online auction, which will take place in December 2017.
Published on August 24, 2017.