An impassioned tide of crimson-lacquered waves sweeps across Lisa Myers Bulmash’s trio of works, “The Manticore and the Mermaid,” connecting the collages she created to honor Ona Judge. A former slave of President George Washington, Ona Judge “absconded” from his estate in 1796 and successfully remained free, despite Washington’s many attempts to recapture her. An important foundation of Lisa’s art is to center the African American and female experiences, and these striking pieces made for Ona recently served as the backdrop for an exciting upcoming docuseries, “The Story of Art in America.” Season 1 will feature ten 22-minute episodes, each focused on art in a particular city or county in the United States, with Lisa representing Seattle.
The camera crew for Legit Productions, the company making the docuseries, loaded into the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle last May to film her interview. As lighting techs prepared the space, Lisa laughed recalling how much make-up she was wearing and how she had to explain to the cameraman that she talks expressively with her hands, creating the need to set up the cameras in a particular way to compensate. With post-production still in the works, the docuseries is currently set to air in early 2022 on video-on-demand and streaming services, yet to be announced. We will be sure to keep Arté Noir readers posted about the release!
Myers Bulmash initially started her career making handmade cards but when her father died in 2006, she “felt compelled to take more personal risks in her work.” When Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice were killed a few years later, she channeled her pain into taking her art to an even higher level. She signed up for a few mixed media art classes and was surprised to find how natural assemblage and dimensional collages felt to her. As her practice grew and the ideas flowed, she realized she wanted to work in 2D and 3D and began collecting different materials, which you can experience in her art now.
Lisa’s work is complex and filled with emotion, layering mysticism, symbolism, history, and the present day, to tell the story of the Black experience. Using found objects such as vintage books and photos, old washboards, and figurines, some of her pieces are inspired by what she finds, and others germinate from a vision in her head, and she seeks out elements to bring that idea to life. Lisa enjoys receiving messages from her social media followers, many of whom feel compelled to reach out when they find a unique object they think she might like to incorporate into her art. Lisa’s symbolic language creates much-needed magic for the viewer, and that magic is evident in the growing enthusiasm for her pieces and the discourse surrounding them.
Today, she continues her work as a collage, assemblage sculpture, and altered books artist, with pieces currently featured in The Liberty Bank Building located in the Central District of Seattle and at Washington State University’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. A recipient of the Black Lives Matter Artist Grant from the Schnitzer Museum, a live-streamed discussion featuring artists in the exhibit, including Lisa, will be available for viewing via the museum's YouTube channel on September 29th from 3:30 – 4:30 pm PST.
We want to send out a warm hug of CONGRATULATIONS to Lisa Myers Bulmash for her latest accolades! We are so excited to watch her episode in "The Story of Art in America," and for everything she has yet to offer us through her art. Be sure to visit Lisa's website to learn more about her and her art: http://www.lisamb.com.