Fellow: Awarded 2001
Field of Study: Fine Arts
Competition: US & Canada
Inventing a vivid unreal world, Eva Lundsager’s abstract canvases teeter on the edge of recognition. As critic Joseph R. Wolin noted in a review of her work for Time Out New York (6-12 July 2006), her paintings “sing beautifully of landscape without ever describing one.” Multiple horizon lines, atmospheric space, and areas of solid ground evoke real-world space, but as Wolin pointed out in Eva Lundsager: New Paintings and Works on Paper (Greenberg Van Doren Galler, 2008), the paintings’ “component parts never cohere as a persuasive illusion, staying always non-representational. . . [they] never become decipherable as something other than themselves.”
Growing up in semi-rural Maryland in the 1960s and ‘70s, Lundsager was free to roam the surrounding farms, woods and fields, and made regular visits to the museums of Washington, DC. As a young teenager, she enrolled as an unaccredited student at Antioch College, taking studio and art history courses in ceramics. She received a BA in Fine Art from the University of Maryland, where she studied with Ann Truitt, Sam Gilliam, and the art historian and theorist Jack Burnham. Moving to New York in 1985 to attend the MFA program at Hunter College, Lundsager worked with painters Ralph Humphrey, Susan Crile, and Marcia Hafif, and ceramicist Susan Peterson. She also began working at the legendary Gracie Mansion Gallery, then located in the East Village. She lived in New York for fifteen years before decamping to St. Louis with her family. For a decade there she watched Missouri’s fast changing sky, often beautiful, occasionally frightening. She now lives and works in Boston.
Lundsager has been exhibiting her art for more than two decades, including multiple solo shows in New York at the Greenberg Van Doren, Jack Tilton, and Van Doren Waxter galleries. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the St. Louis Art Museum, and the Whanki Foundation in Seoul, and it has been covered in Art in America, Artforum, Bomb, the Brooklyn Rail, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and Time Out New York.
In addition to oil painting Lundsager has long worked in watercolor and sumi ink. Regency Arts Press published Ascendosphere, an artist’s book of her watercolors, in 2009, and the images brim with the rich, intense, toxic colors of polluted sunsets. In 2012, Liquid Terrain, a survey of twenty years of her works on paper, was held at the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis. In a review of the Liquid Terrain exhibition for Riverfront Times (1 March 2012), poet Jessica Baran extolled Lundsager’s work in watercolors: “Like a journal, it conveys a true sense of lived time—sputters of joy, interstices of black, journeys undertaken and completed—as well as a glimpse of a rich and active interior life, most at home in the fluidity of paint.”
For an article in The Village Voice (20 January 2009) Martha Schwendener described Lundsager’s method and resulting work: “After the pigment drips down the surface of her canvases, she flips them upside down and continues to paint, so that the downward drips now defy gravity and end up looking like waving sea plants, flames or stalagmites. Morris Louis-like streaks slide sideways across the canvas; abstraction merges with landscape. Lundsager quotes oddball visionary painters like Marsden Hartley, mid-century watercolorist Charles Burchfield, and symbolist Odilon Redon. The results of this motley mix are a fabulous affront to high modernist ideas of painterly ‘purity.’”