Lisa Sanditz’s ‘Emigrant Lake’

Lisa Sanditz’s pulsating, vibrantly coloured landscapes capture the intersection between the natural world and the built environment and its effect on consumption, ecology and the economy. Emigrant Lake is no different, depicting an expansive outdoor leisure park on a large lake, with sunbathers, canoers, jet skis and children playing on slides.

The painting is rooted in the artist’s fascination of how we organize ourselves in a commercial world and how we value and commodify the landscape. It speaks to the rapid and often irreversible development of the landscape. Sanditz’s exploration of these themes is inspired by her childhood in suburbia in the 1970s, which saw the landscape emptied and structured to make way for malls, highways and industry.

Colour is used as a de-stabilising force in the painting, in which Sanditz re-configures the canvas into a series of breaks and ruptures and streaks of colour to heighten the tensions between the natural and the man-made. She depicts the sky, trees, water and other natural elements of the landscape in pastel tones, swirling lines and awash. By contrast the canoes in the foreground of the painting are a solid, acrid yellow, the slide a bold purple, while the figures that punctuate the canvas appear as vivid pops of colour.

The artist manipulates this contrast to point to the artificiality and plasticity of the painting’s man-made elements. Sanditz allows these splashes of colour to infiltrate every corner of the canvas, overwhelming the natural landscape and emphasising how plastic and other toxic materials infect our environment.

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