In studying the works for this exhibition, I am reminded of a former teacher who placed great value on utilizing the subject matter of one's environment. I am certain that he would have appreciated the work of Lise Drost. Upon seeing her work for the first time, the viewer will notice highly structured compositions made up of many elements of contrasting size, shape, color and media. After further observation, various ordinary subjects reveal themselves within the texture of the work: glimpses of the artist's home and studio as well as household implements and tools become visible. These subjects, chair, clip on light and stairs, for example, are clearly delineated, but the overwhelming scale and density of the work is such that they are not immediately apparent. The subjects are thoughtfully chosen and carefully worked into the fabric of the compositions; their inclusion prevents the work from appearing merely formal or decorative and the result is a formal art which is also personal and approachable.
Lise Drost is recognized for her large mixed media prints and her newest works are equally large mixed media drawings. Of these, The Door of Denial possesses an especially clear and transparent color quality which makes it arguably the most exciting piece int he exhibit. Compositionally it is a tour de force. It also represents another personal element in its use of imaginary maps. Other works in the show also contain maps, but I particularly liked this piece. The legend, Kingdom of Wisdom, and its descriptions, such as The Doldrums and Foothills of Confusion, add a refreshing playfulness and humor to the work.
An additional element that might not be immediately perceived is the degree of planning and organizing that must go into all these works. Regarding the prints, we should not forget that these are editioned and they are made of up several printmaking processes. To edition in one process requires an obvious degree of planning and craftsmanship, but combining several printmaking processes at this scale requires enormous energy, resourcefulness, imagination and confidence. There are very few printmakers who dare to work at a comparable scale.
This artist takes printmaking so seriously that she rarely allows herself the freedom to experiment with other processes. I am not only pleased to see her drawing in color, but especially pleased to see her drawing on a scale equal to her prints. The drawings are also equal in every way. They are in fact the most painterly drawings I have seen in a very long time. The media and the artist define the works as drawings but they could more readily be defined as paintings.
- Robert R. Malone, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Robert R. Malone