Floating Treasures #1, Floating Treasures #2, each 2021
Sensibilis Dance, Philodendron Twirl, Winter Horsetails Sweep, each 2020
Water Current Blue, Water Current, Wind Event
Schonberg maintains a studio in Cleveland and has retired after 40 years of teaching at Baldwin-Wallace College, Notre Dame College, and in the continuing Education Department of the Cleveland Institute of Art. She earned the B.F.A. from Ohio University and the M.F.A. in printmaking from Kent State University. She has been a resident artist at Zygote Press since 2007, where she has experimented with a range of printmaking processes, including working collaboratively with the thinkbox at Case Western Reserve University, writing grants, and teaching workshops, including virtual workshops during the pandemic years.
Where you can see more of this artist's work:
Lisa M. Schonberg's work has been collected by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the University Print Club, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland, among others. She has regularly exhibited in solo, and group shows throughout Ohio and has completed two artist residencies in Germany, in 2009 and 2013, with exhibitions there and ongoing relationships with German counterparts through Zygote Press in Cleveland. Her website introduces the various directions ("portfolios") her work has taken and demonstrates the multiple printmaking processes she has used to produce them. She is represented by HEDGE Gallery.
Work title, date: Floating Treasures #1, Floating Treasures #2, each 2021
Materials: relief mono-prints, 32" x 22"
Location at Summa: Wound Care Center, (sub-) Waiting Room
About the work:
These two works are from Lisa M. Schonberg's Treasures portfolio and witness her fascination with the natural world, specifically here, with water, things suspended in it, and its motion. Admitting that she is a "frustrated botanist," she recalls that women of her generation were not steered toward the sciences and has found that her art has steered toward capturing and in that way preserving natural beauty. That the resulting works are often highly abstract originates with Schonberg's involvement with multiple printmaking processes which suggest ways to re-present movement, form, and color.
The Floating Treasures series brings to our attention bits and pieces collected on beaches on both coasts (and Florida) from which she first made mylar stencils. We can recognize sea fans and other corals as well as seaweed and shell fragments. But beneath them, we also observe fine networks of undulant lines, the currents within the water, created by laser-etched plexiglass plates (see her mono-prints in the Barberton Campus Joint Center). On top of these almost filigraine printed sheets, Schonberg lay out the stencils and printed them in multiple passes, each with a different colored ink. The result of these sequential processes, is a unique print, not reproduced in number (an "edition", one of the things that printmaking does make possible) and so a mono-print.
Work titles, dates: Sensibilis Dance, Philodendron Twirl, Winter Horsetails Sweep, each 2020
Materials: Cyanotypes, 24" x 18"
Location at Summa: Wound Care Center
About the art:
We might think of Lisa M. Schonberg as an artist of blues: She says, "Blue is a color I have gravitated to all my life and symbolizes calm, peacefulness and stability..” All of her works in the Summa Collection have been chosen at least in part due to the power of her blue, achieved, however, in different ways reflecting her deep dive into a range of printmaking processes and techniques.
Here, three images of nature in motion, abstracted into blue via the cyanotype process so that we are focused on form. During the isolation of the pandemic, Schonberg experimented with this alternative photographic technique, which is a simple process of placing objects on paper treated with light-sensitive chemicals. The objects block the ultra-violet rays of the sun, while the exposed paper reacts with the sun to create a deep Prussian-blue background, which can be varied by changing exposure time (cyan is part of the Greek word for "dark blue").
Sensibilis Dance is a kind of rondo of Sensitive Ferns showing leaves, spores, and roots as the artist finds them during her walks in the woods. Note the variations in the blues of the cyanotype where the leaves have not laid exactly flat on the photosensitive paper, allowing some UV rays to penetrate.
Philodendron Twirl offers us a new view of a common houseplant, the Philodendron scadens, the naturalist in our artist faithfully recording not only leaves and stems but roots and seedlings as well. These secondary forms become almost magical as spinning filaments. Think of Schonberg arranging these natural forms on the photosensitive paper to create this composition.
Winter Horsetails again takes a nature-walk discovery onto a new plane with the splayed stems and dancing spores of what is also known as Scouring Rush stripped down to their winter austerity. Fanned across the composition, this common North American plant contrasts its rugged stems with the more delicate "tails" which seem to explode from their apices.
Lisa M. Schnoberg's investigations into cyanotype -- a medium first explored most extensively by British botanist and photographer Anna Atkins -- led her to offer workshops, and even virtual workshops during the pandemic, on the process, for which she is still very much in demand. She is one of several artists in the Summa Collection who found both solace and inspiration in Northeastern Ohio county metroparks during the years of isolation and uncertainty imposed by the COVID virus (see also Meaghan Reed and Eileen Dorsey.
Work title, date: Water Current Blue, Water Current, Wind Event
Materials: two relief mono-prints on paper, 22" x 30," pulp painting (center), 12.5" x 10"
Location at Summa: Barberton Joint Center of Excellence, hallway opposite nurses' station
About the art and the artist:
Lisa Schonberg's two relief monoprints flank a smaller work, a pulp painting, in a grouping. They share an intense blue palette not only among themselves but also with two other sets of works by Schonberg now in the Summa Collection, that hang in the Wound Care Center.
The larger compositions are inspired by contemporary maps of ocean/lake winds and currents, shared by environmental scientists with navigators and seafarers around the world. The artist's interest in water and its movement drew her to study these maps and to seek to reproduce them in spirit through laser-etching and through more traditional relief printing techniques (laying string in desired patterns on the bed of the press, then running sheets through to capture the pattern in relief, where the string lies on top of the paper).The resulting images are delicate, elegant, and lyrical, effects that Lisa Schonberg agrees were part of what decided her to continue to explore these processes. The initial work of discovery and invention was funded by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council that enabled Schonberg to work in collaboration with the thinkbox at Case Western Reserve University.
The central pulp painting, Water Current, came about during an artist's residency Schonberg held at the Morgan Conservatory in 2018.She focused on paper-making processes, intent on creating ever thinner paper which she then pulped and sprayed onto a base sheet through an atomizer. Pigment was then added. If we think about this process, it's evident that each work produced will be one-of-a-kind, again, a mono-print. The trace-ways of spraying along with drawing to create densely filled areas on the painting's ground are easily followed, and the sense of motion, whether of air, water, or some other elemental substance, is impossible to resist.