ARTIST STATEMENT

When making art, I welcome serendipity into my creative process and try to find a balance between chance and intention. Through my process and with my materials I explore the tension in this relationship.

My paintings evolve intuitively, although I usually start with images and colors from nature – a tangle of branches, a stand of trees or the pumped-up pinks and reds of Camellia blossoms. After building up several layers of paint, I sand the painting. Any sense of regret I might have about sanding the surface is overcome by a feeling of anticipation as I brush away the dust. A dreamlike image is revealed, full of soft edges and pools of color, almost as if I had no hand in its making. I refine the random combinations of brushstrokes and colors I’ve uncovered by adding purposeful shapes and definition to the final composition.

While my intention to capture specific details in nature may be foiled by the spontaneity of my process, I create images that capture the essence of a particular place. And my methods allow me to explore the juxtaposition of soft and hard, order and chaos,  the known and unknown.

My ideas for artist’s books are often triggered by my chance happenings upon an intriguing line of poetry or a diagram in a book, and the connections I make between those found words and images. I use lists, indexes and maps from my collection of ephemera to describe a moment in time, a memory or a relationship. I add layers of hand-painted elements, collage and letterpress to my books to create a narrative that can be read in multiple ways. This allows the reader to make my story their own.

My paintings are on view at Waterstone Gallery and you can find my book works at 23 Sandy Gallery.

 

 

BIOGRAPHY

Lisa Onstad spent her childhood in a Northern California suburb, sneaking into her neighbor’s secret garden, getting lost in the pages of a good book and making colorful art with her 64-set of Crayola crayons. She grew up to make paintings and artist’s books inspired by urban landscapes, her collection of vintage ephemera, and the infinite number of colors in her paint box.

Lisa received a BA in Fine Art and Psychology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon in 1986; an MA in Art Therapy from the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, California in 1991; and a certificate in Book Arts from the College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon in 2001. Lisa has shown her work nationally, and her paintings and artist’s books can be found in private and public collections in the U.S. and abroad, including the Yale University Special Collections, University of Washington, Seattle and the Atelier Vis-à-Vis, Marseille, France.

During the past fifteen years Lisa has worked as an art therapist, managed a letterpress print shop, and taught painting and book arts workshops in Oregon and California. These days, when she’s not teaching or making art in her North Portland studio, she enjoys reading to her son and wandering the trails of Portland’s Forest Park. On occasion, she has been known to disappear into the wilds of her neighbor’s overgrown garden, looking for inspiration.

 

 

CV

Education

Certificate in Craft, Book Arts, 2001, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Portland, OR

Master of Arts, Art Therapy, 1991, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA

Bachelor of Arts, Fine Arts, 1986, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR

 

Exhibitions, selected

Solo and Two-Person

Blue Fires, Waterstone Gallery, Portland, OR, 2016

Introductions, Waterstone Gallery, Portland, OR, 2015

A Near Perfect Place, West Linn Library, West Linn, OR, 2014

Tales of the Alhambra, Centrum Gallery, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Portland, OR, 2011

New Work, The Art Department, Portland, OR, 2010

Aggregate Memory, Centrum Gallery, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Portland, OR, 2005

Recurrence, Blue Gallery, Gearhart, OR, 2004

The Pleasure Garden, Blue Gallery, Gearhart, OR, 2003

 

Group

Looking Forward, Giving Back, Waterstone Gallery, Portland, OR, 2017

Wish You Were Here; The Lure of the Exotic, Waterstone Gallery, Portland, OR, 2017

Wanderlust, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR 2016

Move, Change, Grow, Waterstone Gallery, Portland, OR, 2015

Hello Hedi, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR 2015

The Contained Narrative, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MN 2015

Book Power Redux, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR 2014

Binding Desire, Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles, CA, 2014

EcoEditions, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR 2013

Art Around Oregon, Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR 2013

Feast! Celebrating Food and Book Art, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR 2013

Artist’s Vision, Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, Lake Oswego, OR, 2013

Rebound, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, CA, 2011

Bookends: The Book as Art, Torpedo Art Factory, Alexandra, VA, 2009

Metaphor Taking Shape, Sterling Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2008

Book Arts Road Trip, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MN, 2007

An Artist Collects: Artist-Made Books from the Collection of Barbara Tetenbaum, Contemporary Crafts Museum and Gallery, Portland, OR, 2006

The Art of the Book: Bay Area Treasures, Donna Seager Gallery, San Rafael, CA, 2006

Book Works 2006, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA, 2006

A Year in Berkeley, Hunt and Gather, Santa Fe, NM, 2005

Jupiter Hotel, Augen Gallery, Portland, OR, 2005

Living Routes and Roots, Interstate Firehouse, Portland, OR, 2004

Book Arts Invitational, Arrowmont School of Art & Craft, Gattenburg, TN, 2003

15th Annual Miniature Show, Cannon Beach Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR, 2002

Northwest Bookfest Book Arts Exhibition, Stadium Exhibition Center, Seattle, WA, 2001

2001 Craft Biennial, Hoffman Gallery, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Portland, OR, 2001

The Persistence of Memory, Waterstone Gallery, Portland, OR, 2001

The Inquisitive Object, Hoffman Gallery, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Portland, OR, 1999

 

Collections, selected

Atelier Vis-à-Vis, Marseille, France

The Jack Ginsberg Collection, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Harvard University Special Collections, Cambridge, MA

Smith College, Northampton, MA

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA

Yale University Special Collections, New Haven, CT

University of Washington Special Collections, Seattle, WA

University of Oregon Architecture and Allied Arts Library, Eugene, OR

Multnomah County Library Special Collections, Portland, OR

 

Awards/Honors, selected

 Purchase Award, EcoEditions, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR 2013

Blue Ribbon Award, Artist’s Vision, Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, Lake Oswego, OR, 2013

Honorable Mention, Turpedo Art Factory, Alexandria, VA, 2009

 

Bibliography

 David Jury, Book Art Object: Codex International Book Fair. Oak Knoll Press, 2008, Aggregate Memory, collaboration with Macy Chadwick

Steve Miller, Juror. 500 Handmade Books. Lark Books, 2008, Aggregate Memory, collaboration with Macy Chadwick

 

Representation

23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR 2015

Waterstone Gallery, Portland, OR, 2015