Lisa Occhipinti is an artist, photographer, author and instructor based in Venice CA. Her art, centered on books, is abstract yet narrative in both her two-dimensional work and her assemblages. Combining digital photography on fabric with embroidery, she tells fluent stories by editing together images of and from books, as well as from life, then enhancing the surfaces with hand-stitched pattern and texture. She also takes portrait photos of books to capture their singularities. Her sculptures, where parts of books are assembled into bespoke forms, are concerned with the inner lives and histories of books as objects.
She has written and illustrated The Repurposed Library (STC/Abrams) and her Bookmobiles have been included in a compendium on paper arts titled Papercraft (Gestalten). Most recently she has contributed as an essayist to The Laws of Subtraction by Matthew May (McGraw-Hill).
WIth a BA in Fine Art, Lisa has studied in France with Parsons School of Design and in Italy with The School of Visual Arts. She was a faculty member at the New Hampshire Institute of Art for five years. While there she coordinated and taught their first summer abroad program at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughn, Ireland. She has also taught at the Art Center at the Currier Museum of Art, and the Brentwood Art Center and the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.
She has won a full fellowship from the Clowes Fund for a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT and was awarded a residency at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild in Woodstock NY.
Her work is in private and corporate collections worldwide including, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Prologue Films, J Crew, Star City, The Dana Farber Institute and Wheaton College Permanent Collection.
2013 Incognito | Santa Monica Museum of Art Santa Monica CA
2012 Terrestrial Life | Gallery 825 Los Angeles CA
2012 Art of Our Century | Woodbury Museum Orem UT
2012 Simulacrum | Gallery 825 Los Angeles CA
2012 Incognito | Santa Monica Museum of Art Santa Monica CA
2011 Out of Sorts | Design Exchange Center Toronto Canada
2011 Open Book | The Armory Los Angeles CA
2010 Fall Group Show | Fresh Paint Culver City CA
2010 Breaking the Spine | Rare Device San Francisco CA
2009 Inside Out | School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston MA
2008 Inside Out | School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston MA
2005 Wish You Were Here | A.I.R. Gallery New York, NY
2002 Artists and Poets | Carney Gallery, Regis College, Weston MA
2001 New Members Show | Copley Society of Art Boston MA
2001 Multiplicity and Reiteration | Tremont Gallery at the International Society Boston MA
2001 Geometry and Art | Thoreau Gallery Franklin Pierce College Rindge NH
2000 National Juried Exhibition | Bristol Art Musuem Bristol RI
2000 New England/New Talent | Fitchburg Art Museum Fitchburg MA
1999 Biennial 1999 | New Hampshire Institute of Art Manchester NH
1999 National Juried Show | Montclair University Montclair NJ
Words, text, image and the notion of endless possibilities are what fuels my work. I am fascinated by the way books connect people, places and time, not just the author-reader relationship but the history of the book itself: who has owned it, who borrowed it, where it has traveled to. They are historical figures. Books contain a vigor and by reconfiguring them and presenting them in new forms I aim to give them a life beyond the shelf.
I am mesmerized by the object of a book. As a child I hated to read but adored books, loved the feel of them in my hands, the forms and colors that combined when stacked several high, the soft breath of turning pages, the pattern text makes on page.
When I re-form a book, it is essential to maintain its integrity, in all its worn patina, marginalia and otherwise proof of life. Where others may see a stain on a cover, I see a story. I utilize book pages and text as substrates and extract content from them while maintaining their mien for sculptures, paintings and photographs. Pages, spines and covers are stitched, mended and assembled into sculptural objects. As a painter, I use book pages as collage elements in my compositions and conversely use books as surfaces for mark-making and color. With transparency central as a means of depth and intrigue, I embrace the filminess of beeswax and encaustic as part of my layering system. As a photographer, I aim to capture the subtleties of books' physiques and attributes by harnessing a detail and enlarging it to ennoble their quietude. All of my work is intended to be read, not in a traditional sense, but by inference. I endeavor to tenderly reveal truths to the viewer that are simultaneously enigmatic and universal.