born 1962, Sunnyvale, CA
Lisa Bulawsky is a visual artist widely recognized for her works on paper, installation, and temporary public projects. Her works have been exhibited in the United States and abroad, including the International Print Center in New York, Sweden’s Dalarnas Museum, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her work has also been featured in Printmaking at the Edge (A&C Black, 2006), a book about international contemporary trends in printmaking, as well as Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes (Prentice Hal, 2009) and American Print Makers (Shiffer, 2014).
In the last decade, Bulawsky has steadily explored the shifting character of American memory and identity through temporary public projects and mixed media prints. The monoprint series Flashbulb Memories (2005-2007) and Prosthetic Memories (2008-2011) each examine personal remembrances in parallel with chronicled events in an effort to understand how we place value on the stories that make us who we are. In these two series, public history and personal narrative are conflated. The prints combine found, collected, imagined, and recalled images to create cryptic and lyrical visual collages of equivalent memories, histories, media, and marks.
In other recent projects, Bulawsky has considered memory as a collective phenomenon. Commemoration or co-memory acts as a way to honor the shared past by forming it in an image, making visible again what has been lost. In the 2012 solo exhibition, Useless the Flowers, she worked with makeshift forms of memorial and speculative homage to establish a dialogue between presence and absence. The public projects, We Belong to this Band (2010) and All in Good Company, All in Good Time (2009) employed a similar strategy of shared remembrance. Public, collaborative, and participatory in nature, these projects offer printed portraits to be taken for free, allowing viewers/participants to be involved directly and intimately in the commemoration.
Bulawsky’s current project uses the printed mark as a foundational metaphor for both ruptures and continuities of time. She is curating the accumulated marks created by the happy accidents of printmaking on sheets of newsprint and juxtaposing them with images of world events. The mark acts as a technological and symbolic bridge connecting the accidental to the historical. This project manifests her continued exploration and conflation of public history and personal narrative and the implicit contention that experience is analogous across individuals and cultures. Even more, it asks new questions about the substance of our lives and whether they are shaped by a set of linear, chronological events or by the correlative, residual incidents that occur on the margins of events.
Lisa serves as a Professor of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University where she teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is the director of Island Press, a research-based printmaking workshop at Washington University that is committed to creating and publishing innovative prints and artist projects. Lisa received her BA in Studio Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MFA with honors in 1995 from the University of Kansas. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.