Jen Tough Gallery

Lisa Kairos

Lisa lives and works in Pacifica, California.

I was four. We walked off a hot San Jose city street, down the side of a muddy embankment, to sit with our feet in the cold, chattering water of Steven’s Creek. Above was muggy and hot, with the acrid smell of car exhaust in the air, but below it smelled of plants and earth, and I felt like I had slipped into another, secret place, just beneath the urban veneer. As an artist, this contrast between two adjacent worlds continues to captivate me. As I engage with a landscape, I look for that moment of slippage and surprise–the glitch of beauty in an unexpected place.

My art process combines site-specific exploration with a studio practice. I choose sites that, like the creek, hold the tension between the natural and human elements of landscape, usually the remainders and margins of urban space, or land that has been shaped by use and infrastructure. Spending time in a place allows an emotional and intuitive reading of the landscape that fortifies my visual memory; I want the work to be as much about what a place feels like as what it looks like. In the studio, I excavate the relationship between the illusion of depth and the limitations of the picture plane, suggesting structures and boundaries, movement and porosity. Decentralized imagery floats, upending orientation. I work in many layers, interrupting atmospheric painterly spaces with flat geometry and line, a shift in perspective or scale, or by cutting through the picture plane. I aim to see beneath the obvious and synthesize opposites, both in subject and form.

Solo Exhibitions:

2016   The Periphery Project: Walking the Bay, Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito, CA
2015   Peripheral Views, Hang Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2013   Cartography for Dreamers, Gallery at R&F, R&F Paints, Kingston, NY
2012   Polyoptic Landscapes, A.W.E. Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2009   Lisa Kairos New Work ‘09, Enso Gallery, Half Moon Bay, CA
1996   Lisa Kairos: Recent Work, Research Libraries Group, Palo Alto, CA
1993   Structures: Landscapes in the Abstract Tradition, Smith Gallery, UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA

Selected Group and Exhibitions:

2017   Wax: Explorations in Encaustic and Cold Wax, Jen Tough Gallery, Vallejo, CA
Encaustics, Long View Gallery, Washington DC
2016   50/50 Show, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA
2015   Same, Same but Different, Hang Art, San Francisco, CA
           Aqua Art Fair, Hang Art, Miami, FL
2014   50/50 Show, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA
           Aqua Art Fair, Hang Art, Miami, FL
2013   Taking Shape, Hang Art, San Francisco, CA
2012   Front Lines, Hang Art, San Francisco, CA
           Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Works, P.V.A.C. Gallery, Watsonville, CA
2011    Heat and Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Paintings, Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA
2010   Epiphany, Felix Culpa Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA
           Working With Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Painting in Northern California, Santa Rosa Junior College Art  Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA
2009   Working in Wax, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
2008   Wishful Thinking, Lark and Key Gallery, Charlotte, NC
            Translucent, Cain Shulte Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2007   New Works, Huff Harrington Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
1992   Exemplary Contemporary, Smith Gallery, UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA (Award)

Publications, Presentations, Workshops:

2016   Workshop Instructor, Idyllwild School for the Arts, Idyllwild, CA
2013-2016  Workshop Instructor, Waxworks West, Corralitos, CA
2014   Guest Curator and Artist Talk, Hang Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2013   Workshop Instructor, R&F Handmade Paints, Kingston, NY
2012   Encaustic Works 2012, Exhibition in Print, R&F Handmade Paints
2011   Presentation, International Encaustic Artists Annual Conference, Portland, OR
2007   Workshop/Presentation, Senior Studio in Painting, UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA


BA Fine Art, Emphasis in Painting, University of California Santa Cruz, 1990

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Early Morning, East Bay (SOLD)

Encaustic and mixed media on cradled panel, 30" x 30" x 2", 2016


Salt Study #8

Encaustic and mixed media on cradled panel, 16" x 16" x 2", 2016


Salt Study #5

Encaustic and mixed media on cradled panel, 16" x 16" x 2", 2016