The work of Lisa Lach-Nielsen circulates around the female figure, and deal with themes such as identity, the search of it and the elements that shape it.
an article written by Milia Wallenius
ARTICULATE #28 | JULY 2021
A young girl stands tall, proud and strong, chin lifted, flowers in her hair, wearing a cape like a superhero. Somewhere else another girl seems confused, overwhelmed and uncertain, stretching her arms out as a bird, dresses her with red threads.
Lisa Lach-Nielsen (b. 1974) is a Danish artist who’s work share one key element – storytelling. Her works are often centered around a female figure, usually a young girl or woman, and deal with themes such as identity, the search of it and the elements that shape it.
Lach-Nielsen has a background in clothing design and tried out different methods of creative expression until she found painting and stayed with it.
“Painting is the area where I feel most secure, where I can be completely myself and tell my own stories and make something unique”
After working with acrylic paints for a while she moved on to oil, which is now her preferred medium. Oil paints dry slower and therefore allow her to work on her subject matters over an extended period of time, changing and adding elements. She has no formal training in painting but relies on her eyes and intuition to create balance in her work.
Lach-Nielsen’s drive is generated from her desire to create and release thoughts she has in her head. The works are thus deeply connected to the artists own mind and carry deep psychological meanings.
Her girls are often seen alone in fantastical or dreamlike scenarios where they are trying to navigate their confusing and surreal surroundings. Although personal the works are also very relatable.
Most of us have felt confused at some point in our lives or struggled to find balance in everyday situations. The difficulties of making the right choices and choosing between potential futures are for example reflected in her 2020 painting ‘All Those Choices’.
Lach-Nielsen’s works are always pre-thought, although the original idea might change during the working process. Her desire is to create works with emotional depth and many layers, which allows them to be interpreted from a variety of perspectives. The paintings can therefore be experienced in numerous ways and they can be relatable to different things in different people’s lives.
Ideas Lach-Nielsen collects throughout the day. Anything anywhere can be inspiring. Her working process usually starts with a quick sketch or a note of a potential idea which then is developed further on her computer where she creates a reference picture using collage, drawings and photographs.
Once the most important elements have found their place details such as colors, hair and clothes are added, along with symbols and facial expressions, that in the end have the power to change the overall meaning and mood of the painting.
Lach-Nielsen sees her working process as a journey and a collaboration between her conscious and subconscious mind:
“Sometimes I don’t understand it fully until I am almost finished, and if I can’t get the meaning of the painting, I simply have an internal ‘conversation’ with it until I understand. I am not concerned with what other people think as long as I have a good feeling myself, but it is always interesting to hear other people’s thoughts and interpretations, because most of the time, they see it completely different than me”
Lach-Nielsen did not start painting until her early 30s as she before that did not feel she had anything important to say:
“I spent many years of my life trying to figure out which way to go. I needed to have meaning behind my paintings to justify to myself that my art was relevant to show. Getting older made it possible for me to look back on my own life and understand the psychology behind the stories that my paintings are based on.”
The artist’s journey to finding herself and her courage to be and believe in herself and her talent is very much reflected in her work.
The young girls set against playful, yet dark fantasy backgrounds relate to the challenges of growing up and the loss of innocence, of being forced to face new dilemmas and the difficulties of life and reality.
As Lach-Nielsen’s works are highly symbolic, the stories they depict are not only restricted to the transition from child to adult but also deal with challenges present throughout life.
“The work is about being human in a modern world on a deeply personal level, being a girl growing up and, little by little, discovering the darker sides of life and the shadowy sides of our minds, which are natural aspects of human nature that we should make peace with and not fear”
Each painting has a narrative of its own, but at the same time this narrative is linked to stories outside of it.
Lach-Nielsen works with emotions and uses a great deal of empathy in order to portray the right emotional expressions. Apart from creating relatable paintings, her goal is to move people by having the paintings speak to people’s own feelings or by encouraging people to imagine what the girls in her paintings are feeling.
The power of her work lies in the emotions depicted and their ability to connect. The paintings speak to and touch something deep within us and encourage us to accept new versions of ourselves as we grow and move forward in life, but also to question the roles assigned to us. They inspire us to be curious of the unknown and to break free from predefined expectations.
This article about Lisa Lach-Nielsen takes part of the 28th magazine, ARTICULATE #28. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below.