Lisa McCleary is an Irish-Australian artist currently living in New York. In 2015 she received her BFA Honours degree from UNSW Art & Design Sydney, and in 2018 completed her MFA Degree at Parsons, NYC. She has exhibited internationally with a solo show at Palmer Art Projects in both 2015 and 2016. McCleary showcased her work in several group exhibitions last year including Unsentimental, Recoded: Strategies of Queer Abstraction and Between. She has won both the Art Scene and Eckersley’s Painting Awards, and in 2016 was a finalist in the M.Contemporary YAI Award. In 2018 her work will be showcased in Art on 52nd St., Growing Pebbles and The Seattle Erotic Arts Festival.


Through painting, sculpture and installation I create a space in which self-pleasure, agency, desire and the digital and real body are in play. I am interested in the pleasure of flesh and the way that that translates into our tactile relationship to industrial materials and our corporeal connection to our phones.

I focus on the gesture of hands and fingers to allude to autoeroticism. My practice addresses haptic sensations and the representation and embodiment of touch. There is a layer within these images, a surface, which is trespassed by the fingers. The skin and the screen surface work as interchangeable metaphors for both sexual and visual pleasure.

My practice evokes pleasure and discusses choice and agency through an investigation of the body. Through the medium of paint I explore distinct aesthetics and capabilities of the flesh. My interests lie with sites of simultaneous vulnerability and strength and the indexical quality of affected flesh. This has lead me to focus on both the orifice and scar tissue. 

My work also engages with pain and pleasure and navigates heightened moments in which they coalesce. I explore industrial materials and their correlation to BDSM culture, the pattern of scarred flesh and the interface. I aim to create an aggressive autonomous feminine body which functions in an alternative system of pleasure that is withheld from the viewer. 

What level of visibility is required to entice the viewer and create a space of reflection and self-exploration? The visual imagery and structural strategies I employ simultaneously approach defilement and transcendence to suggest alternative sexuality. I interrogate the intersection of painting and sculpture to unearth alternative corporeal and carnal possibilities. I am searching for a new system of pleasure that is both seductive and repulsive and cultivates an abject experience.