For 30 years, lithography has been the primary medium for Richmond-based artist Barbara Tisserat. Commenting on its enduring appeal, she says, “I continue to be fascinated with the subtleties of color and texture that can be achieved with variables of lithography’s three basic elements: ink, paper, and pressure.” Tisserat’s virtuoso manipulation of these elements has resulted in a body of work that is visually captivating and thematically rich.
Distinguished by a wide range of drawing styles, her collage approach to composition permits “a visual gathering of thoughts.” In her prints, Tisserat continues, “references are made to the optical, intellectual, and intuitive nature of perception; to the relationship of the artist to tradition; and to the technical demands of the medium itself.
The range of approaches for establishing an image has been explored with the intention of exploiting the associative potential of each. Consequently, some elements in the prints are quick, diagrammatic, and photomechanical, while others are much slower and more fully developed, demonstrating the results of patient observation and careful rendering.” In Tisserat’s recent work, the illusion of collage gives way to a literal pasting of paper shapes and miniature objects to the surface of the print. The flatness of the surface is further disrupted through rough erasures, punctures, or incisions, which become another kind of drawing.
This survey exhibition includes 75 prints, many of which are drawn from eight series: Blind Conceits (1985), Taking Measure (1986-87), Some Terms (1987), Lessons (1988), Notes (1989), Accidents and Adventures (1993-94), Flowers and Other Studies (1998), and Field Studies (1999-2000). It will also feature a selection of early lithographs (1975-84) as well as the artist’s most recent prints.
Born in Colorado in 1951, Tisserat earned a BFA with an emphasis in printmaking and graphic design from Colorado State University and an MFA in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following graduate school, she taught drawing and printmaking at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Tisserat has taught lithography in the Department of Painting and Printmaking at the VCU School of the Arts since she joined the faculty in 1978.
Lessons: 30 Years of Printmaking is organized by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by support from the VMFA Office of Statewide Partnership.