The Secret Life of Plants
Lisa Breznak

I am a serious person who laughs a lot at things hi and low, silly and ironic.

And I want my work to demonstrate that beauty, ideas, humor and significance need not be mutually exclusive.

For the past 15 years or so I've been fascinated with working in miniature, making pieces that play with the power of scale, and refute the prejudice of size.

These palm sized objects also allow me the exploration of many ideas and variations with the same intense contemplation and immediacy as Asian calligraphy.

The work is about my observations and perspectives on issues of environment, relationship, religion and community through references such as architecture, costume, and often body language.

The interest in multiple and repeated forms is long standing in my work.

Repetition and compartmentalization are human traits that take episodic memories, daily personal activities and collective traditions, and turn them into private ritual.

History, and humans, tend to repeat themselves, so I have no problem finding inspiration from the vast pile of time and traditions. I infuse these ideas with imagery to make a visual record of my thoughts.

I use gold (precious metal) and clay (lowly dirt) as symbolism for the highs and lows of mankind. The simultaneous elevation and humbling that mirrors the human condition.

My continued use of gold as a surface carries potent symbolism. It has been used universally to denote power, value, luxury, exclusivity. It has been the quest throughout history of alchemists and conquerers alike.

It represents civilization, as much as a written language or tools, as well as, to me, being mesmerizingly beautiful.

I also love how the gold shows every slash and stretch of the clay and how the clay allows the gold to shimmer and sparkle in a rustic way.

But with humor, irony and example, I put a lot of social comment into my work. Yet really, I want them to be first visually engaging, and then thought provoking.


Photograph by Howard Goodman