Australian artist Lisa Sorgini (@lisa.sorgini) is currently based in northern New South Wales (Bundjalung Country).
After a flourishing career as a photographer in Melbourne, in portraiture and more recently landscapes, Lisa moved back to South Golden Beach not far from where she grew up near Byron Bay, four years ago, when her father-in-law got sick.
Then her mother, with whom she had a strained relationship as a teenager, also fell ill, just after the birth of her first son.
“The transition of me becoming a mother and losing my mother in the same year brought to light the intensity of the relationship,” she says.
She believes that this experience has changed the way she works.
“This is a very raw stage in my life,” she says. “I know my eye will be different.”
Her work is currently centred on the relationship between mother and child, family, community and investigating society’s expectations of mothers, which are often at odds with real life experiences of women and mothers. She is deeply interested in the way our familial relationships, particularly the role of mothers looks and changes over time. Growing up in a largely fractured and sometimes destructive family unit and losing her mother to cancer months after the birth of her first son, she is sensitive to the actuality that nurturing and deep love can exist alongside generational trauma and pain.
Lisa prefers to work with natural light and she creates intimate portraits and landscapes with a painterly aesthetic . She often composes her images with angles and cropping that protect the anonymity of her subjects, who, being at home in hot summer weather, are generally lightly clothed.
Her recent award winning series Behind Glass, was shot during periods of lockdown in her region and shows women and their children, in their homes in New South Wales. These images were shot from outside her subjects’ houses, using the window as a framing device. Sorgini offers ethereal portraits of mothers tending to their children. The series illustrates the feeling of being trapped at this time by the enforced social distancing, although in reality life with a new baby or young children has always been constricted and often lonely and stressful.
Lisa says that her goal in Behind Glass was to honor her subjects, and the title of the series refers not only to isolation, but also to her wish to sublimate these mothers and their children, to works of art behind glass.
“As a mother to an infant myself, I find this impulse both beautiful and somewhat out of touch with the moment. I spent my quarantine days in breast-milk-stained T-shirts. At least half the time I’m nursing my daughter, I’m also staring at my phone, texting with friends or trying to catch up on the news.”
In 2021 she has had work selected as winner of the Lucie Awards Portrait Project as well as winning ‘Most Critically Engaged’ image in the CCP Ilford Salon . She was selected as winner of the 2020 Lens Culture Critics Choice award for her portraiture series Behind Glass. In 2019 she was as finalist in the Olive Cotton and Iris Awards as well as a semi finalist in the Head On portrait prize.
Her work has been exhibited within Australia and internationally and published extensively worldwide, with recent notable interviews in The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, Creative Review and National Geographic.
Lisa is represented by ACN Studio (New York) and her diverse portfolio incorporates a range of editorial and commission projects for select brands and publications.