Friday, November 27, 2009

Michele L’Heureux, Emily Lisker

Michele L’Heureux of Waltham, Massachusetts, and Emily Lisker of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, are exhibiting their paintings together at AS220.

Lisker makes folksy surreal symbolic paintings of ladies and robot guys in bright primary colors. There’s so much going on – colors, patterns, curious characters – that it can feel rather much. But one painting in particular sticks out: “Sisterhood” features two women standing side by side in flowing gowns with their hands crossed and their heads hidden behind framing curtains that echo the dresses. Part of what makes this painting work is that Lisker uses fewer colors here, and lets her knack for patterns energize the composition. But it’s also the strange, surprising power of those hidden heads. It’s haunting.

L’Heureux’s “Gender Redux” paintings are layered with images of gender and sex symbols: DNA spirals, the white scribbled words “girl” and boy,” outlines of bras and women’s shoes, stenciled letters “XY.” She seems to be mulling something about gender and sexuality, but the themes float around everything unresolved. But she’s quite a painter – mixing collage, acrylic, charcoal and screenprinting to build exciting scuffed and scrubbed surfaces. They recall old peeling wallpaper that reveals the layers of time behind. They suggest a history.

Emily Lisker and Michele L'Heureux, AS220, 115 Empire St., Providence, Nov. 1 to 28, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Emily Lisker's painting "Sisterhood"; Michele L'Heureux's painting "Butch"; and Emily Lisker's paintings "Stage of Indecision" "Blind Date" "Balance"


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