* Agrarian Pavements 2012 *

Over the past few years, I have been based in Brussels with frequent travel
throughout the European Union, the U.S. and other destinations. These changing
landscapes and mobile work conditions have fostered work primarily in
photography and collage, prompting me to draw upon the experiences of
displacement, work with archives found in libraries, museum collections, and city
records, and assemble tiny make-shift studio spaces. I learned to negotiate living
and working in a new city for an extended period of time, to participate in the local
community, material culture and environment, to witness the inclusion and
exclusion of a rapidly changing demography within that community, then to
experience my own foreignness in that mirror. This results in a secondary sense of
foreignness, and what I have come to define as double foreignness.

The necessary condition of moving to remake oneself in a new land of opportunity
is a familiar trope found in the history of the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. However,
the stakes are much higher now for survival in the global economy. Citizens who
move within their national borders, as I have done from west to east and back west
again, have never had the challenge of overcoming language barriers and/or the
daunting process of immigration. Upon arrival to Australia for the AAANZ’s
Together < > Apart conference, and seeing the front page news story of the
capsized boat carrying refugees, I am reminded of similar stories closer to home,
where families seeking political asylum or better lives cross oceans and
international borders in fierce conditions often to disastrous ends. Migration and
assimilation are the keys to understanding the new mode of hybridized identity, and
within these conditions lies the complexity of integration, from city to suburb to
farm, and vice versa.

In light of these observations, my recent collages allude to aerial landscapes, where
sharply geometric lines suggest neighborhoods and borders in flux, a trace of
natural and industrial presence, overgrowth and abandonment. These works seek to
hover in an interstitial space, where construction and collapse are frozen in time.
Using meticulously cut fragments of paper stock originating from exhibition
announcements via the incoming mail and mass-produced paint swatches from
hardware stores, I build compositions using bright, flat and metallic color through a
system of planar frontality, overlapping density with blankness. Although the works
are abstract, they make reference to light illuminating the pavement, barbed wire
and negative space as a magnetic field, pushing against the physical boundaries of
the paper support. Emerging from the legacy of Matisse, Los Angeles Abstract
Classicism, Robert Smithson, the New Topographics photographers, and the history
of post-war city planning, new forms are created to envision space as alive,
transparent, and inclusive, blueprints for social and political reflection.

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 1, Postcard stock and color chips on Canson paper, 20 x 26 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 2, Postcard stock and color chips on Vellum paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 3, Postcard stock and color chips on Canson paper, 20 x 26 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 4, Postcard stock and color chips on Vellum paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 5, Postcard stock and color chips on Canson paper, 20 x 26 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 6, Postcard stock and color chips on Vellum paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 7, Postcard stock and color chips on Canson paper, 20 x 26 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 8, Postcard stock and color chips on Vellum paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 9, Postcard stock and color chips on Vellum paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2012

Lisa Blas, Agrarian Pavements, v. 10, Postcard stock and color chips on Vellum paper, 22 x 30 inches, 2012

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