TimeOut New York


Lisa Sanditz

CRG, through Oct 29

The bad news is that every day, the Middle American landscape is looking more and more like a convergence of the absurd and the ironic. The good news is that the same landscape is inspiring a new generation of painters and photographers to make topical, exuberant and thoroughly American work. Lisa Sanditz, 32, fits this bill with an appealing painterly approach that is part tie-dye abstraction, part faithful repr~ntation. She’s solv- ing problems of both form and content that might well leave an older genera- tion of artists stumped. 

The gallery statement tells us that Sanditz has based all save one of her canvases on actual sites she’s visited on cross-country trips. But it’s her colorful, fantastical embellishments that bring them to life. In ’Cave Painting’, Meramec Caverns II, Sanditz has embellished a mammoth natural cavern, a tourist attraction near St. Louis, with candy-colored stalactites in rainbow layers. In Orflanized Livin, she’s covered a shopping mail in an Op-Art checkerboard pattern, that stretches off into the horizon of a nuclear-colored sunset. The windows of the high-rise build- ing in Asbury Park are broken, as if from an explosion, and set against a riotous backdrop of swirling purples and blues. 

For my money, the less I know about the “real life” underpin- nings,. the more each image sings. Forget that the building from Asbury Park is a failed housing development. Or that the tiny disco ball and Eames chairs that Sanditz limned inside that cavern (look carefully) were there in the first place. Bet- ter to imagine a fantasy world burning on the edge of a Day-Glo apocalypse.