lisa chandler  artist

mystery and provocative power

Gail Tresidder, The Nelson Mail, 4 April 2012

Work of the finest quality from two artists, one at her mature best, the other, after years of apprenticeship, having now found a unique voice, combine in the latest exhibition at Reflections Gallery.

Both the art of Cindy Flook, using archival pigment ink on aluminium to take her photography to another dimension, and Lisa Chandler, with her large acrylic paintings on canvas, requires mind and heart contemplation from its audience.

As Flook writes: “I am examining how art may be presented to the viewer in ways that are fluid and open to interpretation in terms of the viewer’s experience of the world and their capacity to relate and dream.” And from Chandler: “I hope my paintings provoke people to stop and think about how we are living, in cities and in our transient relationships.”

Of her five artworks on display, Flook’s Perception & Illusion 1 is the most abstract. I returned to it again and again, finding new shapes and references that fascinated. Look and all the beauty of the land is here - hanging flowers, perhaps fuchsias, fern fronds, craggy hills, swooping birds and spectral figures in contrasting musty yellow and darker brown panels.

Colours change with the light. In other images, there are tree branches, stumps in a silvery muddy inlet, reflections of sky and water and always the mystery - what is beyond?

There is joy in this work from a sensitive thoughtful artist.

Chandler sees herself as an artist/urban wanderer exploring the tension between the chaos of crowds and the quiet of the individual in the non-place.

With her silvery ghosts, disembodied limbs, dripping paint and, in Amid the Crowd, her depiction of two men standing still, the other walking in utter isolation, despite the imagined throng around them, she is a brave artist and her paintings are technically excellent.

More than any art I have seen, Chandler captures the combined feelings of alienation, privacy and self-protection we bring when encountering mass crowd situations, especially when the crowd is close to being a maelstrom and we feel in danger of being swept away.

From a landscape painting that won the Impressions/Arts Council Awards 2007 to the powerful paintings of today, Chandler has come a long way indeed.

Her work is fresh and original, a considerable achievement when, it seems, nothing much is new any more in the world of art.