Lisa Barthelson Artwork

Lisa Barthelson


Area of Expertise: Sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, installation

Lisa Barthelson grew up in a family of artists and has been making art since childhood. Her work is inspired by a reverence for the natural environment, and the drive for sustainability through re-imagining and re-purposing of the byproducts of family living excess. Barthelson has exhibited throughout New England and New York. Her mixed media, printmaking, sculpture and installation work have been featured in curated exhibitions of contemporary art at the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Newport Art Museum and the Danforth Art Museum.The site specific sculpture: ’hangling’ was purchased by the Newport Art Museum for their Permanent Collection. Commissions include site specific wall sculptures for Kronos. Inc. and Worcester State University. Artist-in-residence fellowships have been awarded by Vermont Studio Center VT, Playa OR, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Arts Center NE and Monson Arts ME. Barthelson works from her studio in Worcester, and from her home in Rutland MA. Barthelson was recently awarded a Material Needs Grant by ArtsWorcester and a Finalist Artist Fellowship Grant in Drawing & Printmaking for FY22, by the Mass Cultural Council.

For much of the past 15 years, my work has focused on ‘the family debris series’, first conceived in response to my effort to purge our excessive accumulation of unwanted stuff as our three children grew and moved on. By repurposing the persistent byproducts of our consumerism and recycling my obsolete artwork, I challenge myself to create sustainable printmaking, mixed media, sculpture and installation art.

I work in an improvisational way. I look at, listen to and build with diverse materials, considering their color, form, texture, scale and history. The resulting work is often composed chaos layered with meaning. From toys, to plastic items and cardboard packaging, the familiarly varied components are reminders of how much detritus is generated by each of us, and how it never truly disappears. My work explores the question: can we reuse it all? Can we find joy or purpose in the results of a transformation that ideally keeps this stuff out of a landfill or incinerator? It must go somewhere. In my case, our debris becomes art. The work is a record of how we’ve lived and an embodiment of metamorphosis, offering an often humorous public wake up call to pause and consider our individual environmental footprint, and to follow the mantra: waste not, want not.

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