Lisa Eisner's Psychonaut

California Dreaming With the Nature-Obsessed Artist

“You walk in, and people say, ‘Oh my God, it smells like an orgy!’” says Lisa Eisner of her new show at M+B Gallery in Los Angeles.  Entitled "Psychonaut" (a Greek word meaning “sailor of the mind”), the exhibition consists of kaleidoscopic photo collages, a geodesic dome and mysterious scent sculptures that flavor the whole experience. Previously an editor at Mademoiselle and Vogue, Eisner turned photographer and publisher in 1999, founding Greybull Press and releasing her first book, Rodeo Girls, the same year. She has a decidedly unorthodox approach to work and life, with a predilection for what she describes as “ooga booga stuff.” “You can’t live in California and not be moved by New Age spirituality,” she says. “You live in a world of nature—it’s around you. You can go in with a camera, go under a microscope, go in further and further, and when you start doing that, crazy, magical things start happening.” If her previous work had an arch anthropological bent (continued in her second book, Shriners), this show manifests her LA-infused mindset. Rifling through the photographs of the natural world she has taken in the past four years, Eisner crafted her collages by hand, piecing fragments of images together on the basis of color and texture, or pure accident. The visual highlight of her synapse-bending show is the photo-clad geodesic dome—inspired by American futurist architect Buckminster Fuller (as well as Eisner’s dreams of having “a home in a dome”) and rendered in redwood by furniture designer Matt Monroe. But the exhibition's most visceral effect is surely the psychedelic scent sculptures, produced in collaboration with perfume alchemist Haley Alexander van Oosten—founder of bespoke fragrance brand L’Oeil du Vert. "Psychonaut" runs until June 5, 2010 at M+B gallery.
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