art - response - paul lisson

The Hamilton Spectator

Weekend Saturday - Final
Jeff Mahoney

Paul Lisson's latest show, at the Hammer Gallery on James Street North, is in some ways a consummation of his unorthodox approach to the use of photography in art over the last several years.

Lisson [is] a mixed media artist who uses photography not so much to make photographs as to play with the idea of image.

In this exhibition, entitled Objet Inexplicable, Lisson pulls out all the stops, using color photocopying, black and white photography, paint and several other filtering processes to produce some fascinating effects.

Without giving too much away about his ingenious technique, let us just say that Lisson achieves his look in this show by taking curios and strange objects he has been collecting for decades, placing them against rich patterned fabrics, and photocopying them on a color photocopier.

Then, in various stages, he photographs and tints those images, using both negatives and prints. The technique gives to these images a strikingly three-dimensional quality and some interesting color accents. The objects featured in the images are engrossing -- old pictures of tenor Enrico Caruso, tarot cards, objects of the occult, rosary beads, Mexican worry dolls, Louisiana gris-gris, dominoes.

The show seduces the viewer into a world of enigma and strange conjurings, an effect amplified by the garlands of ginseng and chestnut twigs with which Lisson has crowned his beautifully framed images.

All in all, this show is Lisson's most well-conceived and cohesive work to date.

Objet Inexplicable, an exhibit by Paul Lisson. At the Hammer Gallery.

ILLUSTRATION Hamilton artist Paul Lisson with one of the works in Objet Inexplicable, at The Hammer Gallery. Photograph by Cathie Coward, The Spectator.

Response Collage

This lover of Russian authors and writer of tragedies might appear to be a serious scholar, in reality he's a bit zany."
Hamilton Mountain News. Aug 22, 1984

"...he and his buddy Mark Mavrinac began making animated films, writing music, experimenting with photocopied images, staging film /slide/ video shows & publishing arts reviews which they duplicated & placed in newspaper boxes."
Hamilton Spectator. January 14, 1993

"My favourite authors are Heinrich Böll, Balzac, and my favourite book is The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov. I like most authors with last names beginning with the letter B."
Broadway Magazine. Sept - Oct 1993

"...ingesting caffeine, nicotine, and ..."
ARTSbeat Magazine. Oct/Nov 1994

"...sits in the Bauhaus Cafe, gulping black tar-thick coffee, smoking cigarettes."
Hamilton Spectator, October 10, 1997

Over the years he has developed into an artist..."
Hamilton Spectator. January 28, 1998

"During the past nine weeks, Mr. Lisson and his team ... have been conducting surveys..."
Hamilton Mountain News. Aug 31, 1983

"They have breathed life into this magazine by allowing its writers a certain freedom of expression."
The Silhouette. September 19, 1985

"[Lisson's] Pravda piece ... is delightful ... one can see that he likes to make visual metaphors..."
Hamilton Spectator. March 7, 1987: Arts

"...skeletons amusing themselves."
Hamilton Spectator. February 11, 1989

"Lisson has accomplished two things..."
Hamilton Spectator. October 20, 1990

" lines and blotches and red spatters ..."
Hamilton Spectator. October 12, 1991

"The camera is denied, concedes Lisson."
ARTSbeat Magazine. October 1991

Call it voodoo fax..."
ARTSbeat Magazine. October 1992

"The themes of his shows indicate some pretty intense thinking, much of it warped and some of it downright bent."
Broadway Magazine. Sept - Oct 1992

"Lisson Show is Beyond Explanation."
Hamilton Spectator. November 4, 1993

"...a world of enigma and strange conjurings ... and chestnut twigs..."
Hamilton Spectator. November 27, 1993

"Three guitars rest behind a chair ... Chauncey, a life-sized doll, lounges in another chair with a bottle of cognac. 'I don't like to say stuffed in front of him,' Paul comments."
Hamilton Journal. August 12, 1987

"People aren't going to come out with headaches or anything..."
Hamilton Journal. October 12, 1988

"An eminently civilized dramatic and musical salon was unveiled last night ..."
Hamilton Spectator. October 14, 1988

" experiment in atmosphere and the evocative arts..."
Hamilton Spectator. February 12, 2005

here / art / writing / contact