The Visiting Artists and Scholars Committee (VASC) will be hosting its first lecture by Lisa Blas, an American visual artist of Guamanian-Italian origin based in New York. Working in painting, photography and installation, she creates constellations that speak to recurrent environmental catastrophe and civil unrest — where the afterlife of images occupies the space of everyday life. Blas constructs her palette with transparent and reflective colors grounded in the light of Southern California, the region of her childhood and formation as an artist. The horizontality of this landscape has inspired her frequent use of negative space, creating pockets of gravity in her compositions. Here, a formal collision between material application and her subjects may occur.
Blas will illuminate the trajectory of her work, research and parallel interests in abstraction and language, which grew out of the post-9/11 era. She will also discuss how one often finds notes from home while residing in foreign places. Upon finishing graduate school in Los Angeles, Blas spent five years in Washington, D.C., studying the material culture of the American Civil War and producing the large-scale installation Meet Me at the Mason Dixon. She then moved to Brussels for three years and was invited to teach as a visiting artist in the north of France and produce an exhibition at Musée Matisse, Cateau-Cambrésis, reflecting on the centenary of World War I.
Concurrent with exhibiting her work nationally and internationally, Blas is teaching across disciplines in fine art at The College of New Jersey, Ewing Township. In 2015, in the News section of her website, she launched a weekly RSS feed titled “Monday’s image,” which pairs the front page of that Monday’s newspaper with an artwork from a museum collection. In 2018, her article “Negative Space(s),” about the erasure of historical monuments and women in land art, was published in the volume Monumental Troubles: Rethinking What Monuments Mean Today, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame.