Lisa Kaplan Hidden Vally Lake, California
Kaplan is an art educator and a socially and environmentally engaged artist, an earth artist, expressive artist, and is a change maker. She is co-founder of the Middletown Art Center (MAC Lake County), a non-profit contemporary art center in one of the poorest and most underserved counties in California.
What is Art for you?
For me, being an artist is a way of being, a way of seeing... It's a practice. Making and sharing artwork is a way to communicate and elicit visceral, aesthetic, psycho-spiritual and thoughtful responses. At its best, my work can raise awareness, provoke a call to action, or a change in attitude. Art is way to connect with people and the world around me. It's a way to hone my perceptions, my ideas, my path. Implicit in this "way" or path is self-discovery and growth
What is chocolate to you?
A dark earthy fruit.
What inspires you, and this piece in particular?
Generally, I work with either an explicit or implicit political or ecological message, and the media I choose is always inherent to the message. I have been working with earth clay and straw mixed together also known as cob, since 2007. Earthennshelters have been made for millennia globally. Grasses, sand, dung, hair, or other binders are often part of the mix. The medium also reflects the human life cycle of "from the earth, and returning to the earth".
I harvest the earth-clay at various elevations in the hillsides of Lake County, yielding many different earth colors. Earth is a primordial medium comprised past, present, and future all at once. Layers of composting organic matter, diversity of live organisms, and the potential for growth and nourishment of future life.
This piece is softer than most of my work. It is about long-term relationships, which have a political aspect in their own way. They feed our well-being and the well-being of those whose lives we touch, especially when children are involved. Idealizations of love and partnership can lead to a false sense of inadequacy, which again affects an individual's behavior, habits, family units, and all we encounter.
This work is a statement about the long-term process of growing together, the shelter and home we find in partnership, and the everlasting dance we do as we interact with one another roots and branches intertwining over time.