Artist talk: Lisa Englander

Saturday, Jun 24, 2023 1:30 – 2:30 pm

601 6th St., Racine, WI 53403

OS Projects is pleased to present Grammar Lessons, an exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Lisa Englander, opening May 13, 2023 and continuing through July 15, 2023.  An artist reception will be held on Saturday, May 13 from 1 – 3 pm. The artist will also give a talk about her work on June 24 at 1:30 pm.

Lisa Englander’s shamelessly decorative artwork features obsessive patterning, elaborate colorations and simplified ornamentation. Her paintings are visually organized in musical fashion, with sections of color meeting, connecting and abruptly stopping before migrating to a different area of the work like riffs in a jazz composition. Painted areas enunciate and restate themes, while intersecting planes of minutely scaled patterns shade and shadow each other to create complex, imaginary spaces.

In Grammar Lessons, Englander investigates the scope and subtleties of a monochromatic palette. She creates rich black paintings in which no black paint is used as well as vivid works in multiple shades of a single hue. Her paintings—all executed freehand—are made from watercolor washes which can be layered up to thirty times to generate the depth and luminosity of color the artist seeks.

Grammar Lessons also finds Englander returning to her love of drawing, inspired by a discarded vintage copy of Owen Jones’ pioneering work, The Grammar of Ornament, first published in 1856. The book features 100 color plates of objects and patterns from around the world and throughout history, along with propositions about proportions, colors and rules of abstraction. 

Englander has long subscribed to Jones’ argument that one of humankind’s universal qualities is the desire to make beautiful things. The artist has also shared Jones’ comprehensive global approach to ornament and beauty, with its focus on pattern and decoration, throughout her career. In Grammar Lessons, Englander revisits her early explorations of Jones’ visual research by using printed images from the book as the starting point for a new series of elaborate multi-media collages she debuts in this exhibition.

About the Artist

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Lisa Englander lives and works in Racine, Wisconsin. She received her BA in printmaking and drawing from Brooklyn College, where she studied with Lois Dodd and Philip Pearlstein, and her MFA in printmaking from UW-Milwaukee.

Englander’s work has been featured in over 25 solo shows in museums and galleries including Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters (Madison, WI); Bergstrom-Mahler Museum (Neenah WI); Chicago Cultural Center; Grace Chosy Gallery (Madison, WI); Mount Mary College (Milwaukee, WI); and Bradley Galleries (Milwaukee, WI), among others.

She has participated in over 300 group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. Her paintings have also been included in national and international surveys of watercolor including Watercolor Now, Watercolor U.S.A. and the Missouri Watercolor Society International in Barcelona, Spain. Englander’s work can be found in museum, public, corporate and private collections throughout the U.S.