Abstraction in visual art is far from new, but many area artists are using it to produce rich and meaningful work. In western art, from the pioneering experiments of the fascinating Swedish mystic Hilma af Klint, to Russian Suprematism, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Op Art, even Land Art, etc., we have seen wide-ranging developments in both form and content. Three artists here—in printmaking, painting, and sculpture—make it clear that abstraction can still make for a vibrant, first-hand art experience. Mark Keffer Class of 88'
Printmaker Lisa Schonberg has developed a number of engaging directions in her work, with an aesthetic that leans toward the organic, contemplative, and abstract. The imagery she explores can be seen as a personal interpretation of natural forms. Wind and water patterns, plant-and coral-like allusions and non-representational elements are prominent and come together in compelling ways that rest comfortably between abstraction and representation. The prints offer an almost dreamlike parallel to our known realities, and in the process use art as a positive conduit for reflection and hope. Often, beauty is present for its own sake, which is an appealing and thoughtful counterbalance to a troubled world. At times Schonberg creates work that conveys active movement, even turbulence, but never without a sense of control and harmony. A generally softened color palette effectively compliments her use of shape, line, and pattern, which one can assume is reflective of her reverent relationship to the natural source of the imagery she utilizes.
Wind Over Water 24 x 54”, relief monoprint, 2019
As she states:
I don’t make art that merely records what I see. I am mostly interested in developing new ways of thinking and feeling about our world. For me, making art is about celebrating nature and contemplating our connections to it while hopefully communicating a sense of awe, mystery and peacefulness. I explore image making by combining various different printmaking processes such as relief, intaglio, monoprinting, and screen-printing to create one-of-a-kind prints or “variable editions”. My prints include such phenomena as water currents, earth formations, abstract and tangled foliage, along with other natural patterned and textured ephemera. At times, the prints are about places I’ve visited that elicit an emotional impression of the natural environment inherent in that place. I am inspired by the multitude of patterns and textures associated with these places and the light, shadows, reflections, and colors that draw me in for a closer look. Most of these regions or places have environmentally compelling stories of both beauty and survival.
Capturing the Wind 17 x 63”, relief monoprint collage, 2018
Lisa Schonberg received an MFA degree in Printmaking from Kent State University and a BFA from Ohio University. She currently teaches at Baldwin Wallace University and Notre Dame College of Ohio. She recently had a solo exhibition at Stillpoint Gallery, Cleveland and two-person shows at Kendall Gallery and FAVA Gallery, both in Oberlin, Ohio. She was included in the inaugural CAN (Creative Arts Network) Triennial in Cleveland in 2018. Other exhibitions include the Morgan Paper Conservatory, Cleveland; Artist Archives of the Western Reserve, Cleveland; Feuerwache Loschwitz Gallery, Loschwitz, Germany; HeightsArts, Cleveland Heights; Sandusky Cultural Center, Sandusky, Ohio; Zygote Press Gallery, Cleveland; and the Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio, among others. Her work is in collections including The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Grafikwerkstatt Printmaking Studios (Dresden, Germany), Ohio Arts Council, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and MetroHealth Hospital of Cleveland. www.lisamschonberg.com