Lisa Sanditz’ third solo exhibition at CRG is the culmination of her interest and travels in recent years that have resulted in a new body of work inspired by the Chinese commercial landscape. The exhibition includes works on canvas and paper and is accompanied by a catalog with essays by Jonathan Franzen and Barbara Pollack that documents the entirety of her work on the subject.
For the last ten years, Sanditz’ paintings have focused on the various forms in which the marketplace and wilderness intersect, overlap, and inform each other. Subjects in her paintings have included such things as sporting events, shopping malls, residential development and tourist destinations.
Through a complexity of combined forms, unconventional approaches clashing with more historically-anchored painting techniques, Sanditz has described the brash and metastasizing flux of the American landscape.
Through her continued investigation of these places came an awareness of multinational corporations and sprawling urban and exurban areas not just in America, but all over the world. With a growing interest in the broader notion of the American landscape, it became clear that all the familiar commodities that we buy on a daily basis, everything from toothbrushes to cars, have their roots in distant and unfamiliar places, —places that we have unknowingly given birth to in our unsurpassed ability as Americans to consume.
In the winter of 2006-2007 Sanditz traveled to single-industry towns in China; places whose industry is focused on the production of specific and often singular products. These places, located largely in China’s Pearl River Delta have been unofficially renamed by the items they produce: Sock City (Yiwu), Shoe City (Jinjiang), Oil Painting Village (Shenzhen) among many others. These burgeoning micro-economies dedicated to producing fantastic amounts of a single commercial product for export have dramatically transformed the Chinese landscape; furiously shifting the pastoral to the industrial. Sanditz describes these places in her signature amalgam of fancifully ornate and pictorially bound marks; forming seemingly endless seas of product showrooms, factories, and neon signs that emerge from the murky smog saturated backgrounds of her canvas.
For Sanditz this body of work evidences not a cultural divide but rather a convergence of two cultures economically. Perhaps not a symbiosis, but an awareness of how intrinsically linked and mutually impacting each has been and continues to be.
Sanditz plans to return to China this winter to further investigate this relationship with the generous assistance of a Guggenheim Fellowship that she received in 2008.