With the economy in turmoil and a hotly contested presidential campaign underway, it certainly seems that life has become little more than a crapshoot. Have we all become denizens of a metaphorical casino? If so, what rolls do we fulfill? Are some of us dealers? Are others players? Perhaps most of us just wonder how we found ourselves in this loud, frenetic, and often confusing environment.
The gambling floor, and the people who populate it, are the subject of this series. Working from close observations of actual casinos in the United States and Europe, Esherick has developed richly detailed, imagined environments. Her settings are filled with characters – some are prominent individuals who dominate the scene, others are more subdued, background players.
As in Esherick's previous work, the Casino paintings reflect an exploration of the expressive nature of painting – space and light, color and form. "I am a figurative painter with abstract leanings," the artist comments. "I choose my subjects from my surroundings and experiences."
Lisa Esherick (b. 1941) has been creating art for nearly five decades, and through her work she has been extending aspects of the Bay Area Figurative School. Her work has affinities with David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Joan Brown, James Weeks and their contemporaries. But the Figurative School took a cool, objective approach toward its subject matter, maintaining a distance between the canvas and the viewer. In contrast, Lisa injects subjectivity – and sometimes humor – inviting the viewer to watch, participate, explore.
She has exhibited widely in the Bay Area and elsewhere. The artist was honored by a major career retrospective at the Fresno Museum of Art in the winter of 2006-2007. Additional exhibitions have included the Dana Reich Gallery and the Charles Campbell Gallery in San Francisco, and the Amerika Haus, Stuttgart, Germany.