Lisa Houck’s solo exhibition at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts, features her prolific and vivid versatility, with about a dozen watercolors, small (6” by 7”) to large (50” by 20”), around 40 framed mosaics ranging from (8” by 8” to 30” by 12”), a smattering of linoleum block prints and one oil on wood, three panel folding screen: “Unusual Bird Behavior Confounds Scientists.” The title typifies her themes, as well as the theme of the exhibition, which is “Botanical Explorations.”
All these mostly new works are based on her “interest in plants and trees, the way plant forms take on personalities,” Houck said.
Houck grew up in Ohio but stayed in Boston after attending the Rhode Island School of Design, where she studied printmaking. She’s lived in Cape Elizabeth, Maine since 2020.
“I love to make things, I want to understand materials, that’s why I move between various mediums,” said Houck. “Whether it’s creating handmade paper, white line printing, painting oil on wood, I’ve just always made things.”
After John Hancock Insurance commissioned Houck to create a mosaic for a park in Boston, she hired Unicorn Art Studio in New York to fabricate the piece and became intrigued with the medium. “They don’t teach mosaic making at art school,” Houck said, so she took a few classes and dove right in.
Over the past decades, she’s received numerous commissions for large scale public art mosaics, some from Boston hospitals, two of which she’s especially proud of: Frieda Garcia Park, in Boston’s South End (2004), is a 22-foot-long permanent installation, “filled with birds that were designed by kids from local community organizations… it makes for a very nice collaboration.” And a plinth to sit on at Fort Point Channel “based on the iconic buildings that were used there as warehouses, and a tribute to water in the area as well.”