Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with artist Lisa Wicka, who is the new Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Marinette. Originally from the western side of Wisconsin, she spent time in Florida where she earned a BFA from the University of Central Florida, spent five years in New York City, and then moved to Indiana to pursue an MFA in Painting, Printmaking and Drawing from Purdue. Now, back in Wisconsin, albeit a different part of the state, she’s been spending much of her time settling into her new digs in Marinette (very north!) and reaching out to other educators, artists, and organizations in the area. It was exhilarating to chat about art projects and potential for artistic growth in this part of the Midwest.
I was also drawn to Lisa’s work, especially after we talked a bit about artist residencies and their ability to jumpstart ideas and allow time for work. Several of her series of works have been spurred by residencies in Ontario and Sweden. I was particularly drawn to the pieces in which she explores architecture and her physical surroundings. What I enjoy about her practice in general, however, is that she creates a dialogue between architecture as well as personal identity and the body, or what she terms “internal/external” architecture. From her artist statement, she explains:
Through the breakdown and rebuilding of both constructed architectural spaces and the human form, I mimic the everyday filtering and application of our surroundings to one’s self. My choice of materials and techniques become a direct reflection of my past spaces. Materials such as wood, sawdust, charcoal, wax, enamel and gold leaf allow me to maintain connections with my past while simultaneously becoming structural elements of my present.
In her recent series Merge and Adjust, started at Spark Box Studios in Picton, ON and Algarden Workshop and Gallery in Boras, Sweden (respectively), her surroundings served as her inspiration. The use of materials, colors, and shapes became a visible record of her experience in these places. Adjust built on a previous series, Structure, by taking a much more straightforward architecture approach in black and white in contrast to the Merge and Structure’s bright colors.
Lisa will be showing recent work at the first exhibition of the academic year, a solo exhibition at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield in September/October (exact dates TBA). Find more information on Lisa and her past work and projects at lisawicka.com.