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Lisa Barsumian's Calming the Chaos

The artist is known for simple yet eloquent depictions of animals and landscapes



She Did Not Suffer Fools
Oil pastel on cardboard, 32 x 32 inches
lisabarsumian.com, jeffsoderbergh.com/js-gallery

THE ARTIST Lisa Barsumian

KNOWN FOR Simple yet eloquent depictions of animals and landscapes rendered in soft, textured tones.

ART OF THE EVERYDAY “Growing up with two parents who were painters, art was all around us all the time. I did do my four years of art school, but I always like to say that the biggest part of the training happens after school—the practice of it, the everyday-ness of it. I like looking at the world; I like drawing people. The thing I draw the most is breakfast because it’s a good way to start the day.”

THE JOY OF REPURPOSING “I’ve always worked on cardboard. It’s always been a place to play, a place to draw. About two years ago I started working on it seriously with oil pastels. I like the idea of taking a cardboard box apart and creating something else with it.”

THE POWER OF COLOR “One of the places my family and I lived was India, and it’s a cacophony of colors—just wild colors. It was really there that the grays became so important. It was a way to kind of calm down everything that was coming in through my eyeballs. I like calm on the surfaces of whatever I’m painting. There’s a lot of chaos out in the world, and if I can calm things down on a two-dimensional plane, I just think it makes for a pleasant experience to look at.”

ANIMAL ATTRACTION “The sheep’s name is Misty. I enjoy painting animals because they get this uncanny look on their faces when they look at you. It’s just funny when that can kind of come through—and she’s got it.”

NEXT Barsumian’s work will be on view through November 30 at the Jeff Soderbergh Gallery in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

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