In her 2020 work, Upside Down Walks (Sam), Lisa Sanditz reimagines and reworks the tradition of the Romantic landscape in the time of global health pandemics and America in the Trump era. Repeated exposure to the phrase ‘Upside down world!’, has led Sanditz to alter gravity and recreate a new version of reality in her compositions.
The small rural roads near Sanditz’ home in upstate New York have allowed the artist to find moments of solace and clarity. The area is noted for its historic links to the Hudson River school style of painting, which Sanditz sees as ‘jammed with squeaky-clean realism, macho colonialism and especially lush views.’ Her paintings of Upside Down Walks ‘lean into this Romantic idea of landscape while pushing against its conventions, trading manifest destiny and patriotism for pain and guilt and uncertainty with a bold sprinkling of joy.’
Sanditz makes drawings and takes photographs on site, and on returning to her studio recreates altered versions of the scenes, where spaces and heightened, saturated colours invert and bleed. The effect is one of disorientation and destabilisation. The artist states ‘I have spent twenty years painting the landscape as a reflection of cultural values, finding stories in the messes we’ve made and the uncanny glimmers in the spaces we shape and traverse’