I asked Lisa to share detail shots and to tell us about the work that went into the making of this piece.
18 3/8" x 14 3/8"
Gospel was inspired by the back cover of the Lindau Gospels (8th century) at the Morgan Library in New York City. I was interested in employing the cruciform composition, exploring the possibilities of a predominance of gold, and working with straight lines, right angles and squares in the border.
I simulated "jewels" or stones by tightly compressing large loops of paper (see the centers of the red and gold lobes, and the squarish elements in the border) and Byzantine enamel work by surrounding dense, colored areas with thin gold lines (see the red and black areas of the border).
I also decided to experiment with representational elements (spiders, butterflies) out of desire and curiosity, and also to replace the Christian subject matter in the Lindau Gospels with natural subjects.
The spider webs were especially fun and satisfying. I hadn't planned the webs from the outset, yet when it came time to make the shapes that would fill the negative spaces around the spiders, the web possibility became obvious. The edge of a single piece of the tissue-like mulberry paper I use was just right to suggest a web. Pavel Zoubok, gallerist and muse, is fond of spiders; I was thinking of him.
I love reading about the conditions and limitations of the makers of the objects that inspire me. The limitations that life imposes-- limitations of time, energy, space, materials and attention-- all contribute to what the objects are.
Lisa Nilsson is represented by Pavel Zoubok Gallery.