Professor of art Lisa Bulawsky has been named chair of the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art program in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. Her appointment is effective July 1, 2020.
Bulawsky, who joined the faculty in 1996, is widely known for her works on paper and for temporary public projects that explore relationships between personal and cultural narratives. She currently serves as printmaking area coordinator in the Sam Fox School’s College of Art and Graduate School of Art, and as director of the acclaimed printmaking workshop Island Press. Over the last year, she also chaired the Graduate Task Force, which shaped the school’s new graduate curriculum to be fully implemented fall of 2021.
“Lisa is a wonderful artist, a dedicated teacher and mentor,” said Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School. “Her work and teaching are rooted in printmaking’s democratic traditions while also pushing forward into new theoretical and technical expanses. I am proud to welcome her into this new role.”
Amy Hauft, director of the College of Art and Graduate School of Art, noted that, “Lisa centers the act of making within a rigorous —yet often playful — conceptual framework. One recent series pairs photos of world events with ‘accidental’ marks created as part of the printing process; another collaborative project employs a variety of media to explore the emotional effects of rising sea levels.
“As an artist, curator for Island Press, faculty member and native leader, Lisa has already had a significant impact on the culture of the Sam Fox School,” Hauft added. “I look forward to collaborating with her on the program and its future.”
Born in Sunnyvale, CA, Bulawsky earned both a bachelor’s degree, in 1989, and a graduate certificate in studio art, in 1990, from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She earned her MFA in printmaking from the University of Kansas in 1995. The following year, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts individual artist fellowship.
Bulawsky’s practice combines deep attention to printmaking’s material and conceptual terrain with questions concerning the nature of time and the representation of individual and collective histories. In addition, she engages the populist tradition in printmaking by creating temporary public works under the pseudonyms of Vertigo Press and Blindspot Galleries. She is a founding member, with Laurencia Strauss, of the socially engaged art collective Fifty-Fifty, which negotiates cultural tensions through participatory art practices.
Bulawsky’s work has been featured in dozens of exhibitions, including recent solo shows at Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis; the Miami Dade Public Library; and the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum in Roanoke, VA. Major juried and invitational exhibitions include the International Print Biennial in Newcastle, United Kingdom; the International Print Triennial at the Dalarnas Museum in Sweden; and “This is Not a Museum” at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Fifty-Fifty will be featured in the upcoming group exhibition “After Life,” curated by Thea Quiray-Tagle for San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Bulawsky’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Antwerp and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, among others, and has been featured in the books “Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials & Processes,” “Printmaking at the Edge” and “Contemporary American Print Makers.” She recently served as the Francis Niederer Artist-in-Residence at Hollins University and as the Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project Visiting Artist at Bowdoin College.
At Island Press, which she has directed since 2011, Bulawsky has facilitated residencies with nationally and internationally known artists, who work alongside students and research assistants in a collaborative and experimental workshop atmosphere. The press is committed to creating, publishing and disseminating innovative and ambitious prints and multiples in a wide range of media. Recent projects have included works by Lisa Anne Auerbach, Beverly Semmes, Radcliffe Bailey, Dario Robleto and Michael Joo.
Bulawsky received an Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005 and the Sam Fox School’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011. In 2008 and 2014, she was awarded Sam Fox School Creative Activity Research Grants. In 2011, she chaired the Southern Graphics Council International Conference, Equilibrium, which brought more than 1,200 printmakers from around the world to St. Louis. In 2013, she received the university’s Distinguished Faculty Award.