The Bluto, A Denver Art Magazine

LISA KOWALSKI  “Black and White”

#148-14, 60″ x 162″

Tucked away behind the burgeoning Brighton Blvd art district, Ironton Studios and Gallery is home to Chicago native Lisa Kowalski, and her solo show, “Black and White”, through October 18th.

There are rare splashes of okra and blue included here, but the battle of the whitespace with blacks and grays takes position in the center of the ring, and it is a narrative that twists loudly, and with conflict abundant.

Brush strokes with heavy globs and weight crash into dry strokes  that are hardly there.  Overlaid are white stenciled outlines drawing paths to the next chapter, or straight off a cliff in many places. Most often with black and white, there are truths and falsehoods; Ms. Kowalski has laid a glimpse of this yes and no, but truly, she examines the mush that is the middle, the grays and browns. There is a coarseness with stroke and with shape that dominates our perception with powerful force.



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“Artwork that does double duty as a speaker”

By Laura Pearson,Chicago Tribune

Looking for an off-the-wall gift idea? Here’s one that hangs on your wall: a piece of art that doubles as a speaker.

A Soundwall would make for an interesting conversation piece in a living room, dining room or wherever you entertain guests. (“Is that orchestral music I hear coming from … your painting?!”)

It would also be a nice complement to an office — as long as you trust coworkers with the same wireless access to “DJ” the piece thoughtfully. (“Is that thrash metal music I can’t help but hear coming from your painting?!”, e.g.)

The acoustically immersive gift ranges in price, from $949 all the way up to $10,000.

Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune



Art review

Review: A Trio of Abstract Exhibits Show the Power of Natural Selection

By Michael Paglia Wed., Oct. 8, 2014


Yet another first-rate abstract show is on view on the other side of downtown at Ironton Studios and Gallery in RiNo. That would be Lisa Kowalski: Black and White, which is sparely installed and extremely elegant.

Overall, the guiding colors are, as suggested by the title, black and white, though technically there are also lots of different grays. There’s a real clarity to Kowalski’s lines and bars, which are typically done in black against white with obvious nods to Asian calligraphy and to Franz Kline, who invented his own non-objective style that seems to also originate in calligraphy.

Facing you as you enter is a stunning triptych, “Untitled #148-14,” which at fifteen feet across functions as a mural. Fluid black lines are arranged in rough horizontals; the vertical lines, some of which are fairly thick, run effortlessly across a white ground that on close examination reveals painted-out elements below the surface. It’s really an eye-dazzler, despite the stripped-down simplicity of the palette and the formal elements — or rather, because of those features.

Everything in the Kowalski show has been done to a high standard, but I wanted to single out another great painting, “Untitled 147-14,” which is more full-bodied, with the black bars filled in with thick coats of a range of gray tones instead of the stark black-to-white contrast seen in most of the others.

#147-14, 60″ x 60″

Looking at the Kowalski’s, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that they are the product of freely applied automatic gestures, but they are actually based on preparatory collages. She tears pictures out of magazines and then arranges them with other bits and passages of color to create the overall composition that she carries out in oil on panels. Interestingly, these collages include representational images from the original pictures, but when she translates them, she turns them into purely non-objective shapes.

This fall season has started out strong, but it’s going by fast, with Ikeda and Lovendahl at Havu and Kowalski at Ironton each closing very soon.


New Paintings by Lisa Kowalski
Michael Paglia
Wednesday, Jun 22 2011

There’s a good-looking pair of solos showcasing Colorado artists at Ironton:

On the walls are some great neo-abstract-expressionist paintings by Kowalski. Though she is little known in Denver, where she lives, Kowalski has exhibited nationally and, considering the high quality of these paintings, will hopefully do so around here as well. In these paintings, she experiments with different types of compositions; some feature all-over scribbles, while others combine color fields with slashing brushstrokes. A few even include lines and grids. Somehow they all work together seamlessly. Through June 25 at Ironton Gallery, 3636 Chestnut Place,

Modern in Denver
December 2010


Art By Artists We Know
November 2010


Into the Brilliance: New Works by Lisa Kowalski
Sept 1, 2010

Curbs and Stoops, The Scoop on Contemporary Art –

Lisa Kowalski’s love of painting is evident the moment you set eyes on one of her dynamic, succinct compositions. Reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism at it’s best, Kowalski seems to share her own intimate dialect with color and line. Her work has a startling honesty to it. The viewer has an immediate emotional response that leaves an indelible impression. They remind me of the livid purple bruises that appear on the inside of your eyelids when you look directly into the sun: vibrant but elusive, hard to define. I recall that while studying art history I struggled to learn the language of abstract painting. It was difficult for me talk about work that possessed no easily recognizable visual symbols. For me they often read like sheet music without notes. It was only the work that achieve that illusory symbiosis between simplicity and abandon that I felt any connection to. The kind of work that was purely sensory, like Mark Rothko; a raw feeling on canvas. Kowalski’s paintings possess this kind of balance. They are simple without being empty; elegant and sparing.

In her statement Kowalski writes, “I am in love with the eloquence of sparseness and everything to do with the act of painting: the smell, the lushness of oil paint, color.” Her technique is spontaneous and unmitigated. Inspiration “gets channeled and flows from brain to arm, hitting white board with that first wonderful stroke of vibrant color, and continues with adding and subtracting, stripping down to the most essential.” Her new body of work, “Into the Brilliance,” consists of large and small scale wet-on-wet oil paintings. The show will be opening Thursday, September 2nd at Portland’s Half/Dozen Gallery.

Lisa Kowalski currently lives and works in Denver, CO. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL in 1988. She has exhibited work nationally and internationally including the Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago, IL; Aqua Art Fair, Miami, Fl; Bridge Art Fair, London, UK; Square 101 Gallery, Denver, CO; NavtaSchulz Gallery, Chicago, IL; Half/Dozen Gallery, Portland, OR; Lafontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI.

Winter 2009

Chicago Home & Garden
Thinking Inside the Box

July/August 2009

When they had their first child, Chris and Sara Talsma lived in a loft—“and I mean a loft—there were no rooms,” says Chris, co-owner of Filoramo Talsma Architects and Ten Penny, a development/construction company. “We knew we wanted a second child and needed more space, but being in the business I’m in, it wasn’t going to be ‘Just go buy something.’” Instead, the then-32-year-old architect with a real-estate license and general contracting chops set out to build a house. It was 2005—before the great real-estate implosion—when Chris asked his wife, a human resources director for Holly Hunt, to scout the five cheapest single-family lots he could find within a couple of miles of the Loop. She was most taken with the one at the corner of Damen and Ohio. At 25 by 75 feet, it was small (average city lots are about 25 by 125 feet). But it felt right.     read the full article here


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Lisa Kowalski : New Paintings
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