Lisa Cameron Talks Upcoming Exhibition, ‘Human/Landscape’

On Saturday, January 27, Artworks Trenton kicks off its 2018 Exhibition Season with Human/Landscape, which features the works of four phenomenal women in one show. Sharon Sayegh, Jill Caporlingua, Katja Valeur, and Lisa Cameron came together as peers and admirers of each other's work to bring this showcase together.

To gain more insight about how this exhibition came together, we caught up Lisa Cameron to guide us on the beginnings of this journey. Check out her thoughts on Human/Landscape, and be sure to come out to the opening reception, which kicks off at 7PM on January 27 (although Artworks Trenton Members do get a private preview one hour before the reception).

Talk to us about Human/Landscape. How did the four of you come together to create this exhibition?
We first met about ten years ago as founding members of the Highland Park Artists Collective (though we live in Highland Park, New Brunswick, and East Brunswick). That group came together to help local artists share resources and support each other’s work. The four women who comprise Human/Landscape have followed and critiqued one another’s work in various groups of two, three, or four, ever since. Last spring, when I first considered writing a proposal for Artworks, I immediately wanted to work with these artists I’d come to admire so much.

Was it hard to find a rhythm or flow between the varying styles that make up this exhibition?
Not really. The theme of Human/Landscape emerged quickly as we talked about what tied our work together. We share an interest in the natural world and an impulse toward personal narrative. We all make work from our own experience, using familiar imagery to connote memory, physicality, pain, mystery, and more. By hanging each artist’s work as a block, the distinct visual styles can shine, while the broader theme makes the connections.

Are there any themes that draw from society today? If so, what can people expect to see or ponder while going through the exhibit?
I’d say Sharon and Katja are more involved with the ‘social landscape’. Neither is overtly political, but both reference current events, pop culture, art history, the natural world, and their family lives. Viewers might think about how our private lives reflect (or contrast with) the life of the broader culture.

The work Jill and I do is more about the inner journey of life. Jill’s skeletons, cells, and floating figures exist in both inner and outer space, drawing our attention to the universality of human experience, and evoking a sense of timelessness. In my work, I try to suggest the simultaneous lives of people, plants, the inner earth, and even the universe, each of which operates on its own timescale.

What are some of your favorite pieces within this collection, and why?
That’s a tough one...they all feel like old friends. But let’s see…

Sharon’s "Nightly News" is a great piece. A weary woman, head in hands, is besieged by a riotous menagerie filling the sky above her. Great horned beasts butt heads amid a tangle of frenzied birds. The renderings are beautifully detailed - you can practically hear the noise. Only the title suggests what the noise is about.

"Putting the Pieces Back Together" might be my favorite of Jill’s. It’s about recovering from an injury. A skeletal figure might normally seem grim, but this one is luminous and full of hope. The way she uses color and texture in combination makes the canvas positively radiate.

With Katja’s work, what I like best is the range of imagery and techniques she has at her disposal. It’s like looking directly into her brain, and it’s always a surprise. It’s impossible to single one out!

Of my own work, "Tuscan Hills" is dear to my heart. It is small, but dense with the elements I think about all the time – the human body, the comfort of a verdant landscape, the unseen earth below, imminent death, and the endless sky.

What is it about the Artworks Trenton space that had the four of you gravitate to having Human/Landscape here?
Artists are always looking for opportunities to share their work. But to tell the truth I was not familiar with Artworks when I found their website last spring.

I instantly responded to the inclusiveness of their community orientation and educational outreach. It seemed like a fun and welcoming place. And of course I coveted the incredible gallery space in a converted industrial building – it’s an artist’s dream of gritty elegance.

The staff (Addison) has been a pleasure to work with - supportive and open to our concerns with a manner that is professional and positive. I’m already dreaming up the next proposal…

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Human/Landscape opens on January 27, 2018.