ArtHouse Jersey is delighted to announce the upcoming, latest solo exhibition from local artist, Lisa MacDonald. Entitled ‘Heart in a Jar’ the collection of works are a painted exploration of pain, survival and recovery and will take place at ArtHouse Jersey’s HQ at Greve de Lecq Barracks from Friday 16 October to Friday 30 October.
The exhibition is the culmination of over two years’ worth of work provoked by Lisa’s own experience as a chronic pain sufferer and how, through the local Pain Clinic, she found a language to articulate this pain, locate its source and ultimately heal from it.
Lisa works half of the week on her own homeware and design business, MollyMac, which she runs with graphic designer Joanne Preston, and half the week as a painter. This collection brings together both Lisa’s wealth of experience as an illustrator and her fine art practice.
Boasting 30 to 40 canvases, Lisa has constructed myriad worlds, each of which orbit around the central theme of how we as humans strive to find calm amidst the chaos. Fascinated by the idea of ‘safe spaces’ and the instinct to compartmentalise and contain feelings which are by their very nature boundless and all-consuming, the work plays with enclosure, fragmentation and release.
Each painting examines interior and exterior spaces which are contained and ‘re-contained’ before bursting open, unleashing an outpour of what might be love or grief, anxiety or pain. The glass bottles and vases which become a motif running through the collection could well be windows to the soul, or display cases, freezing a more macabre scene in time, suspending it in negative space.
It’s this duality which makes Lisa’s work so rich and yet so bittersweet. With every chirruping bird, there’s a ghostly figure seemingly trapped behind the glass which haunts the scene – have they been imprisoned there against their will or does it just feel safer to keep the outside world out?
Begun in 2018, this work may seem prescient in an era where lockdowns and shielding have entered our common parlance, but Lisa’s own experiences of chaos and chronic pain illuminate how these dimensions of control and mayhem have been a reality faced by many long before the pandemic hit.
Commenting on this, Lisa MacDonald said: “This work started at the end of my journey with the Pain Clinic and whilst this was my personal motivation for making the work, as the idea developed the paintings revealed to me a more universal truth. Everyone has had times in their lives where they’ve felt overwhelmed by something they cannot control; whether that was this year during the covid lockdown, or during struggles with illness or mental health.
Whilst we cannot control everything, this work explores how our ability to control one small part of our lives – a physical location, a relationship, or one aspect of our busy, daily routines – brings us solace in times of upheaval.
The show is kindly supported by ArtHouse Jersey who provided the exhibition space and Project Funding to make this exhibition possible. I’d like to express my sincere thanks to ArtHouse Jersey for backing me in the lead up to this show. They do incredible work for the local art scene and their support has been invaluable.
I’d also like to thank the professionals at the Jersey Pain Clinic, without whom, my pain would still be dominating my every moment. I feel so privileged to have been able to access your services. The time, expertise and support you gave to me and continue to give other pain sufferers is truly transformative and it has changed my life.”
The exhibition opens on 16th October at Grève de Lecq Barracks and will run until 30th October.