Lisa Dombek - Artist 


My painting is informed largely through internal process in response to both material/natural worlds, often concerned with spiritual transformation. Working in Series appeals to me since it allows development of an idea, whether visual or metaphorical.  I am profoundly influenced by global events,  cultural shifts and especially the vulnerability of nature and wildlife. In terms of process, I work abstractly and intuitively, allowing my conscious/unconscious to merge, letting the voices speak.


Celestial Phases series 2011
Celestial Phases is a series of works conceived in 2011 and inspired by the lunar eclipse during the 2010 winter’s solstice.  The work holds relevance for today. Celestial doesn’t necessarily mean pretty.  Celestial bodies reside in a limitless Universe amidst powerful forces, both monumental and transformational.  Astrologically speaking during this time, the blood red moon, in perfect and powerful alignment with the earth and the sun invokes our individual and collective shadows, bringing issues to the surface to be dealt with on a more conscious level - challenging us to confront and meet these so to raise light and consciousness.  It impels transformation.  Living in this time of greatly accelerated change, our planet is experiencing major shifts in both physical and energetic realms. We are confronted with transitions in power favoring monetary gain over humanitarian/planetary/ecological concerns, natural disasters due to shifts in climate change, as well as cultural wars, material disillusion and the disintegration of our economic and social systems.  We are not an island, but a planet interconnected in a Universal cosmic landscape. The lunar eclipse represents a gateway, a portal and time of transition and transformation, compelling us to move from the strategic mind and embrace an alchemical melding with life’s Mystery and Magic.  My works explore these concepts not only in the purely physical sense, but further as a spiritual, allegorical and metaphysical journey through abstract landscapes having to do with the circle.

Monhegan series 2010

I first went to Monhegan Island in 2005, when a friend invited me to stay with her and another friend who was renting a house. We brought food and wine and had free lodging – an amazing first visit. You touched down on the island and immediately felt the magic, the energy, the history of those who had lived there before you. There are many facets to the place, the town and dock, the web of paths, Cathedral Woods and my favorite, the stunning cliffs on the back side. I immediately started a journal of photographs (which I have continued each summer since). I did a few sketches and pastels while there, but mostly worked from my photos upon returning to Portland. I would see the compositions in my camera. I was also intrigued with the small island called Manana, situated directly in front of Monhegan and the little house and track which appeared as such a solitary yet prominent presence. Watching the light change over this landscape was ever engaging to me. I caught a photo and started a whole series expressing the idea of this little house in the midst of a large space, seemingly in the middle of nowhere – but truly in a continually changing landscape. I did sketches, used mixed media, textured wallpaper, oil on canvas, linocut prints on paper with mixed media … revisiting the composition and abstracting it out over and over. The large canvases “Aftermath” and “Stormy Cliffs”, have to do with the Cliffside. “Aftermath” began as a view of the cliffs to Blackhead, with figures emerging from the rocks and a beached vessel tilting in towards shore. In reality, it seemed there were visages everywhere you looked there, in rocks and roots and you could imagine an event such as a shipwreck occurring in some remote time in the past. I found it somehow emerging through my canvas. As it so happened, something else moved me to work beyond this scene and the painting morphed into what you presently see; the large figure of a bird in flight coming full circle to a time of peace, with the currents of past events rippling and resonating under the surface. While this painting was originally inspired by the cliffs of Monhegan, it then became more of an internal landscape in its final incarnation – crossing that line from real to internal or surreal, as subsequently and often happens in my work. With that said, I encourage viewers to see what they see, finding something, whether a personal experience, vision or a feeling that resonates with them.


"Alchemize 1"

Oil on canvas - 2008, 56" x 84"

"In the history of science, alchemy from Arabic refers to both an early form of the investigation of nature and an early philosophical and spiritual discipline, both combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy, physics, medicine, astrology, semiotics, mysticism, spritualism and art all as parts of one greater force." OIL. The commodity of oil. Source of fuel ... and as such presently, the source of much global woe, war, devastation of culture, humanity, economy and the environment. In the painting, figure of a woman crouched over in grief and overcome by light all at once - perhaps some higher power? One can only hope. Dead child or innocent being lies beneath her on the sand. Submarine looms behind her, breaking the surface. Sky spews smoke. What could this be but a scene of war, even in its apparent benign grayness? Lisa Dombek Portland, ME USA


"What’s Lost, What’s Left, What Emerges, What Comes …"

Plaster on board series - 2006

As the title suggests, this work is borne of a period of loss. Coming to terms with the idea – no, the reality of death and passing. Of its mystery. Unfathomability. Time with a loved one in the physical sense is suddenly lost, or stops. Of the essence of those spirits that remain within us and surround us. Their powerful presence. Expressed in a myriad of faces and forms. But where do souls really go? Relationships and patterns that meet an end. What’s left is s p a c e for what comes. Process: Plaster and wire over board with oil and mixed media. Texture. Field for the movement of souls …..


Plaster on Canvas series - 2005

The plaster on canvas series, of which "Tsunami Boat", "Tsunami - Animus & Aftermath", "Tsunami Kundalini Wave", "Angels and the Flesh" and "Mysterious Portrait" are a part, was begun as purely textural. I intended to simply play with color and limited myself to a subtle palette. During this time the earthquake and resulting tsunami in December 2004 hit Thailand and surrounding areas. Images started making their way through my consciousness and into the plaster and oil - faces, figures, energy, movement.


“Women in War Series I - IV”

Mixed media on paper – 2004

Women in War is a series of paintings I’ve been developing during the past several years in response to troubling global issues pressing our world today. As we become increasingly involved in war on a global level, I am overwhelmed and saddened by its degrading effect on our humanity, our cultures and spirituality. The “Women in War Series”, specifically addresses the juxtaposition of the feminine aspect with that degradation. Women as nurturers, caretakers and providers of nourishment have been compelled to take up arms, become vigilantes, protectors. As ones whose nature it is to endure, preserve and balance, the out-of-placeness of war is poignant. In terms of process, the nature of mixed media allowed my conscious/unconscious to become intertwined, letting images emerge and meld.


“We’re All Warriors”
Oil on canvas – 2003
The painting is both political and personal. The political aspect is a departure from my body of work as a whole, but one that I find myself expressing more and more as our world becomes increasingly “Global”. How could I not respond to the ravages of impending war, and its effects both culturally and spiritually, physically and emotionally? It is personal with regard to the concept that war exists on all levels – the war within us, with lovers, in every day relationships. We Are All Warriors in our internalized struggle for identity and personal freedom. In terms of process, it is abstract and intuitive. In its entirety, it absolutely reflects the way I work, being informed both from the inside, and the out.

“Interior Abstract Series
Mixed media on paper – 2002
This group of works was inspired by a series of photographs I took of an interior space that was being renovated.  It was night.  There were reflections through glass and portals.  There were shapes suggested by furniture, lamps.  The photographs looked to me like abstract paintings already.  I began fairly representationally (as in I, II and III recognizable scenes are apparent).  Then I chose to abstract the forms, retain a sense of light and allow a flow of collective unconscious (as in IV and VI where figures emerge).  In V and VII, it's all color and form.  I had also intended to extend this idea further and explore these ideas on very large canvases, whereas I was working on generous sized paper in this case.  I am excited to bring movement into it, since working much larger will allow that.
All images on this website copyright Lisa Dombek/ARS NEW YORK.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.