Utopia is not a final destination, but a direction that begins from personal considerations.
It’s 2020. The age of Covid, climate catastrophe, Donald Trump. In many ways, I don’t envy this new generation of artists navigating such a strange world. On the other hand, more then ever, creativity and artistic expression are fundamental and critically needed.
The climate crisis is a big concern and I think artists have a real role in offering perspective as a positive force.
Wonder Never Cease presents a series of drawings of imaginary landscapes that are inspired by ideas of Utopia. The drawing reveal spaces that are warm, friendly, and open. Together, they offer glimpses into concepts of sustainability, simple living, and escapes within nature as well as the balances in life of pleasure and productivity, community and solitude.
Lisa Thériault’s drawings are filled with meticulous details that retain a beautiful childlike quality. She painstakingly draws foliage one leaf at a time, dwellings where the perspective exists albeit slightly skewed and filled with a myriad of small objects that belong to daily life. The drawings reveal a complex narrative inside each self-contained universe.
Lisa graduated in 2014 with a BFA from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. She co-founded the online project space Closet Gallery in 2017 with Philip Mercier and has exhibited and curated works for several galleries across Canada.
2 years ago, she took a leap. She left the security of a paying job, applied for arts grants and received two: one from Emploi Québec and a research, creation and exploration grant from the Quebec Arts Council.
These grants have allowed her the time and the space to develop her vision. Her workflow is meditative. A series of amorphous, surreal shapes act as visual breaks to the intricately drawn landscapes that can take months to complete.
Originally from Charlottetown PE, Lisa exudes that down to earth quality that the Maritimes seem to breed in people.
I’ve lived the majority of my life in the Maritimes—in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. My family has especially long ties to Nova Scotia as Acadians. I think the things that have interested me there visually come from their major industries: farming, fishing, tourism, and forestry. They have such an impact, sometimes with only one or two industries being the main economic drivers in a community, that it is certainly a big part of the identity of these places.
I am drawn to a miniature tree grove that she began working on a few years past but has cast aside to focus on drawing. The land is arid. The large terrain looks like it’s been cut neatly from the earth, revealing the geology beneath. She explored different medias as an art student but found that she kept going back to her love of drawing, a medium that has come naturally to her since childhood.
Intelligent, thoughtful and terribly well organized, Lisa Theriault is the fresh face of the emerging artist. I share a space with her in the large complex of artist studios Les Ateliers du Canal Lachine in Montreal. With the 23 years that separate us, I marvel at the clear vision she has for herself at 28. This is a moment in the artist’s journey when ideas and the experiences acquired solidify.
An emerging artist is an artist who is early in their career and is still in a stage where they lack access to opportunities and resources to develop further. I’m interested in finding ways that visual arts venues can embrace developing artists and what the terms could be for finding people who have the ambition and the potential, but can’t get off the ground.
The thing is, the challenges that she outlines for the emerging artist, remain a constant in any artist’s life. But LIsa Thériault exudes a quiet self confidence, that beyond her talent, she has the tools and the drive to find the audience that will pay attention and be moved by her message.
Lisa Theriault recently participated in Artch, an initiative whose mission is to identify, educate and disseminate the work of emerging Quebec artists in contemporary art.
Quotes by Lisa were taken from an interview with Elan and her website lisatheriault.art