Monday, August 24, 2015

Lisa Noonis' TIDAL at the Banks Gallery

Painter Lisa Noonis, who's a friend of mine, has hit it out of the park with a new series of beach-based paintings being exhibited in a show opening this Thursday (August 27, 2015) at Portsmouth's Banks Gallery.

The paintings (in oil) are large, semi-abstract evocations of the oceanside - sometimes overcast, sometimes that summer saltwater ritual close to my own Long Island-born heart, the proverbial "beach day." But they are never conventional or cliche.

I've admired Lisa's work for as long as I've been painting. Her work has tons of vitality, and it's very evocative for me - I connect right to it (she consciously paints in an "open" way, suggesting rather than declaring or describing with unnecessary detail, an approach that invites the viewer to complete the picture). Her work is wonderfully painterly - she revels in the material, the textures and colors of paint. She often constructs volumes in her paintings with color changes rather than shading, applying lush brushstrokes in patches, somewhat in the manner of Cezanne

Lisa and I found ourselves in a master class with Eric Aho some time ago, and since then we've been toying with a similar landscape painting process. The idea is to mount a "campaign" on a particular place (in Lisa's case, it's the beach), the first stage of which is to paint in front of the motif every day, en plein air. 

The second stage is to again paint the motif in the studio, but this time from memory, on a much larger scale, and with the goal not of painting what it looked like but what it felt like; that is, to paint imaginative equivalents, rather than pictures of, nature. This approach has the advantage of comprehending the innovations of modernism and abstraction. 

I wrote the essay for the catalogue that accompanies Lisa's show. I love these beach paintings -- I think they're Lisa's best work to date and my favorite of the many paintings of hers that I've enjoyed (I'm happy to say I own three small originals). 

The show's up through September, 2015, and the essay text that I wrote is online here, at The Banks Gallery blog


  1. I also was in an Eric Aho master class with Lisa. It was the first time I had seen her work and loved it. The Banks Gallery is a perfect venue for her paintings. While I may not be able to attend the opening, I will be able to see it sometime in September.

    1. Actually I was wrong Carmela. Opening is Thursday not Friday.

  2. Gorgeous paintings. I love what you wrote about them too. I'm going to try to see this show.

  3. I appreciate your thoughtful comments Chris. I also admire both Lisa's and your own approach to painting. Most of my work is done plein air, then (in winter when studio-bound) I do larger versions of places I have mined over and over. I am still moving more towards loosening up, more towards abstracting. Very interesting to hear your process.

  4. Wow, these are fabulous! So fresh and loose and yummy!

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