Artist Lisa Macchi says the experience of painting is a living, breathing process that’s intuitive, improvisational, visceral and seductive.
“It’s a physical dance with the piece for me,” Macchi said. “My process is not to think too much and let the work take its own course.”
Macchi’s solo exhibition, New Works on Paper, opens at the Hunterdon Art Museum on Sunday, May 17 and runs until Sept. 6. Everyone is welcome to attend the opening reception on May 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. which includes a gallery talk by the artist.
Macchi is an abstract expressionist working in a modern impressionistic painting/collage style. She finds inspiration in nature, relationships and the contrasting depths between shapes, colors and space. Viewers may discern various elements and symbols in her work, but the artist prefers not to discuss specifics.
“I don’t want to sabotage the viewer’s imagination by saying too much about my work,” she said. “The work is abstract so viewers will draw from it whatever seems appropriate to them. Many times people will look at my work and say they see something in it that may or may not be there.
“There’s a sense of intimacy with the work that makes it very personal,” she adds.
Macchi frequently works with a special paper that she tempers and primes in a putty-colored patina of gesso, which works as a foundation and sealant. Adding this surface and color – what Macchi calls “the bones” — gives the painting more depth and substance rather than painting on a flat plain white palette, she said. The artist then begins her very spontaneous process, creating work organically using acrylic, crayon, graphite and/or pieces of paper glued onto the work.
“My process is not to think too much and just let the work take its own course,” she said.
She received a Bachelor’s of Fine Art from the Tyler School of Fine Arts at Temple University in
Pennsylvania. During the 1970s, she attended the Art Students League in New York City
where she studied with renowned modernist Knox Martin and Peter Golfinopoulos.
Macchi put her art career on hold for several years to become a successful business woman and to raise a family, but her passion for art never faded. “I always knew I’d go back to my work,” Macchi said. “But when I did, I wanted to make sure I really immersed myself in it so I could learn and grow.”
Her work has been shown at several venues including the Riverside Studio in Pottersville and at New Century artist Gallery in Chelsea, New York.