At the age of thirty three I began to recover memories which altered my perception of who I am and the family in which I grew up. Since this time, my creative work has been inspired by the development and transformation of identity.
My painting process is like a return to my childhood habit of staring at wood grain and discovering odd faces and figures. Recently, I have combined this process with very basic drawings of a central figure combined with writing about my intention. Each painting begins with roughing in the focal point and brushing light and dark hues in various directions creating nebulous forms. Standing back from the canvas begins the search for lines, shapes and forms that connect with the primary character. Imaginary yet recognizable imagery begins to appear. The painting continually transforms through color and brushstrokes, creating an organic and abstract composition. I create texture by scratching through the surface with toothpicks, brush handles and altering the consistency of paint. Childhood symbols are always a part of each painting: windows, crooked houses, ladders and misshapen geometric patterns.
My goal is to create a colorful cast of characters in a performance of their own self-discovery.
“My Thesauras doesn’t contain words to describe her(Lisa Bartell) vision. I only know her expressions make me smile. Look closer at her work and you will find gems throught.” Elaine, Collector
“Lisa Bartell is a f…ing genious.” Hope Alexander
“I recently told Alan that I wanted a chair in our room that’s mine-not like the chemo chair. When I saw your painting I had found my chair. The girl in it …. is surrounded by the love and protection of the chair. I have admired all of your paintings but this is the one for me.”
Collector speaking about the painting, A Chair of My Own.
“I discovered the amazing art of Lisa Bartell when she liked one of my posts. …… I constantly looked at her art and this was the one for me.
Please look up Lisa on her Face Book page and fall in love.”
Lisa Bartell is best known for her abstract figurative oil paintings in which she explores the theme of self identity and how life events can suddenly transform internal reality making our relationship with ourselves and the world temporarily illogical.
Bartell’s paintings are inspired by her own experience of uncovering buried childhood memories which disrupted her art career for several years. This began a journey of healing from post traumatic stress disorder in which creativity played a large part of her healing process. Bartell gives expression to her experience by painting a narrative of females living in a fantastical and abstract world in which anything can happen. Her characters defy the norm of what we expect life to be. In her creative world figures are often whimsically elongated and distorted or juxtaposed with animals whose characteristics represent a search for increased self awareness. Bartell paints expressively, using bold color, varied brushstrokes and texture. Symbols representing her childhood are found in several paintings: windows, ladders, crooked homes and lopsided geometric shapes. Her work is open to interpretation. As one collector stated, “It is not literal as a pretty figure…., but rather it is more abstract where one assigns meaning based upon what one brings to the work each time you look at it.” Bartell’s work has been impacted by Chagall’s whimsical fantasy paintings and Modigliani’s African influenced portraits. While she gets inspiration from other artists, Bartell decided years ago to avoid an intense study of their technique. “When I look too closely at another artist’s paintings, I lose myself and my intention.”
Bartell lived in New York State for nine years until her family relocated to Memphis, Tn. She was always interested in art, attending the Memphis Academy of Art as a teenager. Bartell later studied painting and drawing at Temple Universities’ Tyler School of Art. She received a BFA at Kent State University and an MFA at the University of Memphis. Bartell began her career as a graphic designer and illustrator. She has taught art at the elementary through college levels.
Bartell is an award winning artist. She has had several solo exhibits as well as participation in group shows. Her paintings are in private collections throughout the United States.
Bartell lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband Gary and dog Dexter.
Sandra Tyler, Editor in Chief, The Woven Tale Press Arts and Literary Magazine