"Stone Soup" (2009):


(Essay © J. Mawby)


Lisa works predominantly in painting, installation and performance. The content of her work involves narrative about current social issues, and previous series of work have included animal/technology hybrids and musings on Canadian national identity.

Her mural for our Stone Soup installation references Pieter Bruegel's "The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind" and shows a line of people (mostly men in business suits) being led towards a large, prone figure who functions as a cornucopia. The cornucopia man has a large open toothed-mouth with a large hand and is shovelling a pile to stone vegetables into his mouth. The pile of vegetables are literally made from stones Lisa spent several days painting onions, bunches of carrots, cucumbers and mushrooms on stones taken from a nearby garden.

In the line of the condemned, a credit card (actually a cut up Mastercard) is tucked into the right hand of the man at the front of the line. Mr. Credit Risk is miming a gun with his hands and "shooting" the person in front of him. To add to the element of pending doom, the characters wear cooking pots on their heads obscuring their vision and are holding onto a rope to find this futile path forward.

A cityscape with billowing smog and clouds looms about cornucopia setting the urban stage for the entire scene. One small element of hope remains—a bright red zeppelin emerges from the coiling clouds perhaps an escape vehicle, or a super hero with the 10,000 foot perspective and clear vision of the landscape and therefore some potential solution.

The work on this mural was completed in 5 days and a stop-motion video of her progress can be found online on the Stone Soup Facebook event page. The video will also be posted to the Vantage Art Projects Blog.

all content © Lisa Birke 2015