‘Within the chaos of everyday life, there’s a lot of beauty’

Moorestown artist Lisa Matera shares what inspires her art and drives her to create.

Artist Lisa Matera sits with her dog Daisy next to a work in progress in her home studio in Moorestown.

“The world is endlessly fascinating,” said artist and Moorestown resident Lisa Matera.

She sees the beauty in everyday life and it shows in her still-life paintings of everyday objects, composed in such a way that they catch the eye and draw the observer in.

Matera has felt a strong compulsion to make art for as long as she can remember.

“I think most artists have that experience from a young age, drawing and having that desire to draw,” said Matera. “It sort of evolves that you keep at it and keep developing.”

That art seems to run in her family played a big part in her development as well. She recalls creativity being held in high regard in her childhood home. Matera’s sister is a graphic artist and her mother was adept working with fabrics.

“It was a creative family, very hands-on, everybody could fix things and do things,” said Matera.

Although art seems to be part of Matera’s nature, she believes it can be something that is nurtured in a person as well. In fact, she did just that for five years as an art teacher at the Burlington County Institute of Technology in Medford.

As a teacher, Matera strove to teach her students as individuals, knowing not all of them would pursue art in their professional lives. She believes certain people are driven to create art, as she has been her whole life, and that sets them apart from other people.  

“I always endeavored to meet the students where they were, to see what their goals would be and then to try to encourage them from where they were coming from,” said Matera.

Matera specializes in painting. Much of her work can be described as still-life or representational, scenes of everyday objects like glasses or fruit that somehow seem to transcend their own monotony and evoke a feeling or deeper meaning.

Recently, she has been painting scenes of sinks filled with an assortment of kitchenware: dishes, glasses and silverware.

“I like when people put dishes in a sink. They randomly go in, you’re not thinking about placement, it’s very random and yet within that confine it’s almost like a rectangle painting. It’s interesting to see how the shapes end up,” said Matera. “Within the chaos of everyday life, there’s a lot of beauty.”

In addition to artists she admires, like Edward Degas and Honore Sharrer, Matera draws inspiration from films and the emotion and meaning they can evoke with images.

“I love film and creativity and how people approach the idea of where we are in the world,” said Matera. “I think anything like music, writing and film just make me understand myself more and I think painting is the same thing.”

Matera came to Moorestown about five years ago and couldn’t be happier with the local art scene. Living in close proximity to the Perkins Art Center has given her an opportunity to show her work and meet fellow artists from the area.

“Everyone has been really supportive and encouraging and there are some great collectors,” said Matera.

Although she has sold several of her paintings and commissioned pieces, Matera has yet to fill a gallery of her own. She hopes to remedy that this year.

“My goal is to get work together, keep expanding my own vision and just getting stronger within my work,” said Matera.

To learn more about Matera and see examples of her work, you can visit her website at lisamatera.net.