02 November 2016

Mata Sen opens at Walter Maciel Gallery

hello hello friends.
this morning i start installing at walter maciel gallery
another round of 1000. mata sen. [mata means again in japanese]
there will be 2 larger scale works and a bunch of smaller drawings/works on paper [hand worked prints from my residency at kala]

the opening is this saturday november 5, from 6-8pm
i'd love to see you if you are around !
the show will have a really nice long run - will be up through december 23rd, so if you find yourself in LA you can visit [except the gallery will be closed thurs/fri/sat of thanksgiving week].

follow my progress this week on instagram

and here's the press release from the gallery if you want a bit more info ....

Lisa Solomon
Galleries 1 and 2

Walter Maciel Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition entitled MATA SEN-translated from Japanese as 1,000 Again-by Oakland based artist Lisa Solomon.   The work is a continuation of Solomon’s exploration of the lucky number 1,000 and was initially introduced in her last exhibition in 2014.  The exhibition marks Solomon’s third solo show with our gallery.  

In Japan, Solomon’s mother’s native country, philosophical and spiritual masters have used the number 1,000 as a sum for physical and mental endurance by setting goals that are rewarded with luck or a wish. Solomon unravels the ancient superstitions by employing various mark makings that explore Sen (1,000) using this specific number in every piece.   She interprets notions of luck by combining facts and data as well as historical and cultural practices with her personal lexicon of visual vocabulary.

Two large installations are included in the context of smaller individual works. A focal point in the gallery is the presentation of 1,000 French knots made from 2,200 feet of rope that Solomon hand dyed using a rich red, a traditional Japanese color noted on their flag and fading into a pale pink from one end to the other.  Taken from giant spools ordered from China, the sections were cut into equal two foot sections and each knot was individually tied into a four by four inch knot as a meditative exercise.  The result is a color coordinated grid with 20 rows containing 50 knots each.  Conceptually, the knots reference components of Senninbari: stitched belts that 1,000 women would collectively make for their husbands going off to war in WWII with each woman adding one French knot stitch per belt as a gesture of good luck and safe keeping. The belts protect the stomach and gut which is a significant body part in Japanese culture since it holds one’s power and vitality.  The Senninbari were meant to be talismans to protect the wearer and Solomon’s enlarged display mimics this sentiment with the oversized knots looming in front of the viewer with a domineering presence.

Juxtaposed within the space is a second installation that includes 1,000 Buddha hands loosely referencing Senju Kannon, the 1,000 armed Buddha. The hands are cut out of different golden papers and placed on 6 panels of mulberry paper, traditionally used for Shoji Screens.  The paper takes on similar characteristics to cloth and is left long like a traditional kimono to roll onto the floor.  The hands are loosely organized into traditional Japanese cloud patterns similar to the manufactured designs found on golden screens.  In addition, a series of chromatic (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, pink) prints containing 1,000 Buddha hands were made during a summer residency at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley.  The hands are loosely sketched and laid out in a pattern paying homage to Senju Kannon, hands that are in the mudras of blessing, protection and teaching. Placed in concentric circles the hands begin to form a larger circle with the very center of each containing series of French knots with threads that dangle down. Other prints include a series of 1,000 origami cranes, known as Senbazuru in recognition of the story of Sadako Saski and her quest to make 1,000 cranes after the bombing of Hiroshima. One set exists as two prints that have 500 cranes each, the set is chromatic with an expanding concentric circles layout, strung together so that thread ties the bottoms together.

27 September 2016


sometimes i think that one of the most interesting parts of an artist's practice is the part that you don't see. or if you are lucky during a studio visit you get a glimpse. it's the research, the rejects, the tests, the random strips of paper with scribbles on them that i find so fascinating. [this is true of my own work too].

i've noticed that on a scrap piece of paper where i'm testing colors, the order of the colors and the mark making can often seem more free and in many cases much BETTER than the "real" work that i'm trying to produce. maybe because it's less precious and more unconscious it taps into that magic space that artist's are so yearning to embody.

above is me matching thread to some watercolor colors. it's so satisfying - i wish it could just BE my work.

when i was at irving street projects, kelly was making palette paintings. in her work she has to practice the strokes or fine tune the colors she's going to use in the paintings she's making. she ended up really liking the test papers and consciously decided to exhibit some of them with the final works. they created a whole new narrative that was really exciting.

we talked A LOT about process. we thought it'd be really fun to curate a show based on this idea. luckily theodora murano of ampersand international arts was interested... and palette came to fruition. 

our curatorial statement:
Using the simple idea of a painter’s palette as a starting point and metaphor for composing one’s own artistic vernacular through studio work, co-curators Kelly Inouye, Theodora Mauro, and Lisa Solomon asked participating artists to exhibit something that helps them tap their creative well and inspires their work, instead of displaying finished artwork. The resulting exhibition features an eclectic mix of found objects, research materials, actual palettes, studio accidents, works-in-prog-ress, studies, music, collections, sketchbooks, and ephemera illustrating the unpre-dictable nature of inspiration and the value of creative thinking.

the show is up through October 14. the gallery is open thursdays and fridays 12-5. here are a few install shots [but there is MUCH more to see !]

the artists in the show are:

we made a catalogue for the show. you can preview/purchase it here on blurb.  i'm quite proud of this exhibition, the concept as well as the execution. it's also always so completely rewarding to work with such wonderful people.

25 August 2016

CHROMA at Rare Device

it started much as the last one. but we couldn't take over the floor since this is a RETAIL space and people um, need to shop.

but it was easier to layout the 2nd time around

this time we worked in horizontal rows instead of vertical. 

this time we worked both top down and bottom up. 

this time there was remarkable negative space [giving us ideas for the next time around maybe]


this time we had over 20 [!!!!!] amazing volunteers. the most dedicated. so dedicated we finished in 3 long days [unheard of!]

this time when we went to photograph it on thursday morning the famous sarah deragon happened to walk in and shoot our show ! and us !!!

christie is ALWAYS cracking me up like this. 

didn't sarah take the best photos ever?

this time christine and i designed and silkscreened POSTERS. and you can get em on rare device's website

this time we also cut up the imperfect silkscreen prints and made tiny prints/cards. [which yes you can also buy on rare device's website.

this time, once again, we were thrilled, excited, overwhelmed and delighted to put this together - so much so we have plans to try and do it again [and again]. 

it's up through September 6th at rare device. if you go, please tag your photos with #rdchroma

also elise morris put a little interview/post on the show on the studio work... 

01 July 2016

a REAL vacation

when it's a milestone birthday for your dad and you ask your 7 year old where they would like to on vacation to celebrate.... you end up in HAWAII. Oahu to be exact.

the first absolute NO WORK vacation I've taken in I don't know how long. it was a wonderful wonderful trip. it was worth it solely for the colors of the ocean alone. but there were other amazing things. a couple of friends definitely steered us in great directions [thanks to maybelle, rori, and kelly]!

the smell of the plumeria really is like no other [i got a cutting approved for import at the airport and am crossing my fingers it will thrive in my greenhouse like 1/2 bathroom]

diamond head is a steep, but not not unmanageable hike .... the view is pretty stunning. [go earlier in the day so it's not so hot].

some of the steep stairs at diamond head

found this perfect nest at diamond head too. 

there are "wild" chickens EVERYWHERE. and a lot of stray cats around too. where we were staying you could hear roosters crowing all day/night. 

these brazillian cardinals were everywhere too. 

definitely definitely definitely book a tour to shangri-la if you are going to oahu. Doris Duke amassed the largest collection of islamic art outside of the middle east/asia - and allowed her home to be open to the public upon her death. it's an amazing estate. so beautiful. 

the tours leave from the honolulu museum of art - which while isn't particularly large, has some good pieces. the grounds are the most impressive though. several "themed" courtyards, one of which had the biggest lotus flower i've ever seen. 

another fairly easy hike - just a bit muddy and bug infested was manoa falls. this hike is shady the whole way. the entire time we were there we stayed on the winward side [which is the wetter side]. these amazing lush hills/mountains surround us and i kept wondering what it was like ON those mountains. this hike gave me a clue. 

the trail is really well maintained and you get to see a lot of vegetation. banyan trees are particularly cool.

it's amazing to be surround by tropical fruits. the little and my mom got into this game where they'd scream out MAGOS every time they saw a mango tree. this happened a lot. 

tried dragon fruit. very light. beautiful color. 

also near where we were staying was byodo-in temple a replica of a japanese temple. 

complete with a big buddah. there were also a TON of koi, some black swans and doves that would eat out of your hand. so pretty. 

the ho omaluhia botanical garden is gigantic. we only made through one part. but the little fished for the first time [they give out bamboo rods and bread on the weekends for people to catch and release fish] and caught TWO fish [almost 3. one got away]. no one else in our party caught a single thing. the fisherman juju from my papa sidney must be strong with her. 

we went to hanauma bay and it IS impressive, but for snorkeling with younger children or not super experienced swimmers i'd have to recommend sharks cove over the bay. with pools that are still and warm like bath water, crystal clear, and basically standing height for a 7 year old - it couldn't be beat. 

and across the street are a bunch of good food trucks [and a foodland - which has the cutest graphics on reusable bags] it kind of can't be beat. we even got a pineapple drink !

the drive up to the north shore is really beautiful as well. and if you want to get sucked into tiki/polyneasean heaven you can stop at the polynesean cultural center [yes it's touristy, but it's actually fun].

this is the state fish - Humuhumunukunuku─üpua╩╗a. we spied many. and a giant sea cucumber and so many butterfly fish and just all around neat looking sea creatures.

the beaches are also just fun to comb for treasures. 

ok yeah. pretty darn great. 

01 June 2016

a month \\ stitch sampler class

a whole month has gone by. how can that be ?? it was filled with the end of the semester crunch. the end of semester grading crunch. and now i'm in the throws of organizing the studio for the summer of madness... or more like the summer of getting ready for 2 shows and working with an arts institution to do some community work [grant procured !]... more on all this soon.

stitch sampler packaged all pretty

for now, i just wanted to let you all know that i'm teaching my embroidery sampler class this Sunday from 10-1 at handcraft studio school and there are a couple spots left. so if you, or someone you know wants to come stitch... sign up !

ok. happy June [how is it already JUNE?]

03 May 2016


if you know me... you know i am a FAN of a daily art practice.
[some of the one's i've done? look up and down , day-to-day - where i drew things left around on a table/desk every day, or the one that started it all - drawing a day - where i drew with a thread color 5 days a week for 52 weeks...

so when CreativeBug asked if i wanted to do a Draw a Day challenge for them - uh YEAH. 

when they asked what i wanted to do, i immediately thought about this thing i'd been re-visiting in my own sketchbooks - shadow drawing. i thought it would make a really good contrast with the drawing challenges that came before mine.

first was lisa congdon's - where you draw things from your imagination - in a stylized line drawing way. then heather ross and molly hatch talked about drawing things from life. and then pam garrison showed people how to draw from imagination again - in a different stylized way and started inserting color too [yay color].

in shadow tracing you don't really have to know how to draw. you find an object whose shadow interests you and you hold it above your paper with an overhead light or some bright sun and you trace it. if you want to, you can insert areas of observational drawing, but you don't have to. shadow tracing allows you to play with materials [because you aren't so focused on drawing something correctly.] it allows you to play with media [because why not?]. it allows you to play with composition and layering [because it's so easy to do so when you are simply tracing a shadow]. 

it's something i've been doing again and again in my sketchbook lately because it's so freeing. it's fun and liberating and fast. so... if you want to come play with me EVERY DAY [but hey - you don't have to do it daily. or yeah it's already may 3rd, but you can catch up !] then hop on over to CreativeBug. 

if you aren't already a subscriber - it's $4.95 a month ! and you'll have access to 700+ classes. and you can SAVE classes [1 a month] forever [meaning even if you give up your subscription you can still watch them]. they are also having a mother's day sale  - $25 for a whole year.... 

if you do join in - upload your drawings to instagram and tag them with #cbdrawaday and tag me too ! @lisasolomon so i'm sure to see them.

i hope to see some shadow drawings of yours !