Alum Lisa Bryson '17 awarded $15K grant

As a recipient of the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant, Bryson will complete a body of work consisting of six to eight representational paintings.

Artist Lisa Bryson (MFA '17) working in her studio.
Artist Lisa Bryson, who earned her MFA in painting at the College of Visual & Performing Arts, works in her studio.

When asked about inspiration, Lisa Bryson '17 says "There was no question that I was going to become an artist. The path chose me. When every day is consumed with the thought of color, composition–the perfect narrative, it is quite clear art is on the mind. Inspiration is derived from a lifetime of direct and intentional observation.”

Bryson is the recent recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. The Montreal-based organization awards 40 merit-based grants annually to emerging artists from around the globe who work in a representational style of drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. As a beneficiary, Bryson joins the ranks of various artists, including past awardees Steven Assael, Sophie Jodoin, Jenny Saville, and Elena Peteva.

Creating multifaceted narratives

Bryson's multifaceted narratives epitomize what she describes as “the burden of humanity.” “Being human is multifaceted and difficult to define,” she explains. “I seek to find ways for re-articulating the human experience, touching on themes of birth, aging, media technologies, societal narcissism, interpersonal communication, and isolation.”

The Couple, oil painting by Lisa Bryson '17
Oil painting "The Couple" by Lisa Bryson.

Take for example her oil painting “The Couple,” indicative of the current direction for her work; this painting presents a couple sitting at a table. The man sits staring directly ahead, looking past his companion. The woman is preoccupied with her cellphone. The table is empty, the space appears stark, and the couple disconnected, but the unspoken activity interplays between the two through minute marks of color–quiet noise. The palette consists of grayed tones. The composition is purposefully sparse; the emphasis remains on the silence, disconnect or possibly contentment between the two. The cellphone is the uninvited third party at the table. "My reductive process of painting simultaneously hides and unearths multiple narratives," Bryson explains.

Studying the masters

Influenced by the works of greats Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon as well as contemporaries Sophie Jodoin and Ann Gale, Bryson chose to pursue her MFA in painting at UMass Dartmouth's College of Visual & Performing Arts. She credits professors Elena Peteva, Suzy Schireson, Bryan McFarlane, and Stacy Latt Savage as being integral to her growth as an artist.

“Stacy provided the space to work. Bryan encouraged the abstracted sensibilities in my work. Suzy stepped up to the plate when called upon. And Elena assisted with my developing a mature understanding of color, composition, the formal aspects of great art.” Realizing the strength of her abilities as a representational artist, Peteva encouraged her to apply for the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant.

Receiving the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant

“I am truly honored to be a recipient of an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant,” she says. “This opportunity ignites in me a drive to further excel. And to have the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation investing in my work – simply amazing.”

The grant allows for the necessary, allocated time, materials, and space for painting through the end of 2018. During this time, she will complete a body of work that consists of six to eight paintings.

View Bryson's paintings, drawings, and large installations at lbryson.com.


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