A sudden recollection of repressed memory is a mental explosion. It is the death of a previous identity. When this became my experience, the inspiration behind my paintings became clear; the development and transformation of how we define ourselves. I view each series I have painted as a timeline moving from a false and dissociative identity to an integrated sense of self and finally to an identity which becomes part of the collective spirit of all natural life.
Working with oil on canvas, I explore personal transformation by focusing on a female figure surrounded by my interpretation of natural imagery. Recently, I have begun to focus on natural patterns alone. Both focal points present a world of fantasy or organic abstraction as a metaphor for the unknown and unexpected. I do a lot of scribble drawings, jot down titles and have an inner discussions before beginning a painting. It’s a kind of therapy session between myself and the intention behind the painting. I begin by using a palette knife and brush strokes, covering the canvas with earth tones, creating hidden organic imagery. This movement of the paint allows me to search for lines and shapes that are both geometric and unexpected. I see this process as a return to my childhood escape of focusing on wood grain, searching for odd figures and faces. The focal point is loosely painted, transforming as the composition progresses. I love playing with color. This results in a bright and bold palette. Each painting is an expression of the process of self-discovery. My goal is to create a narrative that leaves room for the viewer to insert their own story.
Lisa Bartell is known for her expressionist oil paintings in which she explores the theme of identity development in childhood and its’ often sudden transformation in later years. Her work has been impacted by Modigliani and the curvilinear forms of Art Nouveau.
Bartell received a BFA at Kent State University, Ohio and an MFA at the University of Memphis. She studied drawing and painting at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pa.
Bartell began her art career as a graphic designer and illustrator. She later became a university art instructor and portrait painter. Her art career was unexpectedly disrupted for over ten years as she worked through PTSD. In 2002, Bartell returned to oil painting as a personal expression.
Bartell is an award winning artist, including the Manhattan Arts International Showcase Award for The Healing Power of Art and Award of Excellence for Herstory. She is a 2022 recipient of the Artist Support Grant from the Durham Arts Council. Bartell has had several solo exhibits as well as participation in group shows. Her work has been featured in New Visionary Art Magazine, 2023, The Woven Tale Press Arts and Literary Magazine, Art Professional Magazine (formerly Art Calendar Magazine), Artsee Magazine and local newspapers in Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill, NC. Bartell’s painting Sunflower’s Resting, was featured on Good Morning America’s segment, “Bob Woodward Reports, Unsung Heroes: Families of Wounded Soldiers.”
Bartell currently lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband Gary and dog Brooklyn. She is represented by Providence gallery, Charlotte, NC and Carlton Gallery, Banner Elk, NC.
2022 Artist Support Grant, Durham Art Guild
2022 Art 4 Animals, 4th place award for Deep Breathing.
2022 Solo International Exhibit award, Exhibizone, Canada
2014 Honorary Mention, “The Dog’s and Their Broad, Durham Art Guild Members Show, Durham, NC
2011 Certificate of Merit, Light, Space & Time Gallery
2010 Showcase Award Winner in Painting, “Positive Art that Uplifts the Spirit”, Manhattan Arts International.(Jurors: Joanie San Chirico and Renee Philips)
2004 Award of Excellence, “Herstory”, Manhattan Arts International. Jurors; Renee’ Philips of the International Association of Art Critics, Cornelia Seckel, publisher of Art Times, Corine Shane, founder and president of InvestinArt NYC, Mellissa Wolf, founder of Women’s Studio Center, NYC)
2003 Showcase Award Winner, “The Healing Power of Art”, Manhattan Arts International.
Juror, Renee’ Philips
2023 New Visionary Art Magazine Women’s Issue #5
2017 The Woven Tale Press Arts and Literary Magazine
2016 Artsy Shark Blog, Featured Artist
2011 Artsee Magazine, NC Sightseeing column by Katie Bowler
2009 The Herald Sun, Durham, “Abstraction Abounds at DAG Members Show”, by Blu Greenburg
2009 The Herald Sun Metro, Durham, “An Artists View”
2007 Painting titled, “Sunflowers Resting”, appeared on Good Morning America’s segment, “Bob Woodward Reports, Unsung Heroes: Families of Wounded Soldiers.”
2006 Art Calendar Magazine, (Currently Professional Artist Magazine), Insider Art, April 2006
2005 The Independent, Chapel Hill, NC, “Taking The Side Street”, by Doug Stuber
2004 Raleigh News & Observer, “What’s Up: Critics Picks on Best Art”, by Michele Natale
2007 Painting titled, “Sunflowers Resting”, featured on Good Morning America’s segment “Bob Woodward Reports”, Unsung Heroes: Families of Wounded Soldiers.”
Carrboro Arts Center, Carrboro, NC, drawing instructor
Private drawing and painting lessons, Durham, NC
Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, Illustration Instructor
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