Elaine Lisle’s solo exhibition at Gross McCleaf is thoughtfully titled, “Autumn”. While the fall has long been associated with winding down, there is also an aspect of this time of year that represents a new beginning: a new season, the start of the scholastic year, and the annual count-down toward the succession of holidays that culminate in New Year’s Day. In Lisle’s new paintings, the artist conveys the comfort and solace that a return to routine brings and the optimism of beginning anew. The work clearly presents Lisle’s delight in the singular beauty of this time of year as trees turn brilliant hues, blue skies are freed of summer’s humidity, and glorious sunsets give way to crisp evenings.
While dealing with the challenges of the past year, Lisle visited nearby sites such as the street next to her studio, the Schuylkill River, French Creek State Park, the campus at Bryn Mawr College, and the Barnes Arboretum. There, the artist enjoyed the opportunity to paint en plein air with ample subject matter to explore. This inspiration was then brought into the studio where she completed larger works from her studies, reference sketches, and photographs. The artist says, “Intense, exaggerated color is a hallmark of my work. Part of what draws me to paint is to capture and share the intensity of what I am seeing…hoping to take an ordinary scene and make it mesmerizing. I know I have been successful when the viewer feels as though they have been there.”
Elaine Lisle received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania where revered landscape artist Neil Welliver gave her the permission she needed to pursue a career as a realist painter at a time when many young artists were turning to abstraction. She later continued her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she was greatly influenced by the luminous abstract paintings of the late Murray Dessner, others. This is her fourth solo exhibition with Gross McCleaf Gallery.