Lisa Zwerling


Robert Sievert




It has been said that the dominant theme of twenty-first century art is shaping up to be man's relationship to nature. The further we get into the technological environment the more we need to be reminded of our physical grounding in the natural world. Even the most radical works that I can think of in the twentieth century had a powerful relationship to nature.

I am thinking of Robert Smithson's various assaults on the natural environment to prove his mastery or independence of it (he boasted of destroying a pristine white limestone cliff in Italy with several loads of black macadam dumped from a truck....)

On another track, throughout the last fifty years there has been a heartbeat of nature painting in New York Art. A steady outpouring of art that is based on nature and figure painting.

Certain artists are routinely producing pictures in familiar even styles that satisfy the mind's search for visions of nature. And in certain instances they succeed. Then there are the breakthrough pictures that touch deeply into the psyche and reach the heart.... Such is the painting now being shown by Lisa Zwerling, "My Black Heart"

Lisa Zwerling is a careful artist who paints in a classical lyrical style. Her drawing is worthy of Watteau or Corot. In her recent show of work at the First Street Gallery (November 5-December 7, 2002) she showed a variety of narrative pictures of figures in landscape. And then there are her paintings of wolves. Different media/drawings/oils.... All capture that essential feral quality. This is not a matter of detail but one of spirit.

What is it about these wolf pictures that make them so powerful? "My Black Heart" is a black wolf atop a rocky ledge. It is caught in a moment of awareness. Looking out into its world, one that we may never see. It is a moment of startling intensity, an example of an important function of contemporary art in our super- modern world, bringing us back to a direct natural experience.


  Copyright © 2003 Robert Sievert