John Phillip Abbott (Albuquerque): Since relocating to Albuquerque 10 months ago, we’re still trying to get settled and have unpacked only a handful of works from our collection. My wife, Stacey Heim, hung up our small, gem-like Lisa Beck painting at the end of a narrow hallway. It is the first work we installed in our new home. Framed by the white walls, doors, ceiling, and wood floor, Lisa’s painting projects a physical presence and visual stability we’re finding ourselves grateful for during these increasingly unsettling times.
Through the most economical and direct means, Lisa creates a poetic space that is as much about the origin and development of the universe as it is about reconciling our place in it. But it’s also very much about line, shape, and color, and I often think of the alchemical power of these elements in the hands of a master like Lisa.
Before moving back to Albuquerque, we lived in rural southwestern New Mexico, where Lisa’s painting spoke directly to the vast, empty desert landscape and clear night sky. Now that we are living in a city again and have been relegated to spending more time inside, I’m finding a connection to an internal landscape. The reflective surface also acts a bit like a mirror and changes throughout the course of the day.
When I am confronted with Lisa’s painting, I find myself taking a deep breath, straightening my posture, and stepping outside of my own head. It’s incredibly grounding and centering during this time and we are so grateful to live with it.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve been asking artists to describe recent shifts in their perception of the art in their collections in light of the ways that a global cataclysm can reshape meaning in artworks that predate it. My questions are: In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, do you look at your personal collection differently now, and which works in particular? Is there one that especially resonates with you at this weird, frightening moment? And does it take on new meaning?