Lisa Hunt, Who Transformed Gold Leaf in Her Art, Dies at 55


Contemporary printmaker and designer Lisa Hunt, who was celebrated for her intricately precise gold leaf artistry and expanding studio practice, passed away from Leiomyosarcoma at her home in Maplewood, New Jersey, on January 20. She was 55 years old.

Born in 1968 in Rome, New York, Hunt grew up in Aurora, Colorado, where she studied art throughout high school, taking art classes at a nearby technical school before moving to Brooklyn to pursue an education in graphic design at Pratt Institute. After withdrawing from Pratt one semester before graduation due to financial reasons, she went on to work in the magazine publishing industry for approximately 20 years, which included a position as creative director for the lifestyle magazine Essence.

She launched her consulting business Lisa Hunt Creative and shifted from publishing in 2014 to focus on her art practice, establishing her New Jersey studio space the following year. Primarily focusing on graphic collages and screenprinting, she developed a signature style that stemmed from the late 20th-century Pattern and Decoration movement, alluding to traditional West African textile work and African American quilt-making through repeating patterns of geometric shapes and forms.

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Known for employing 24-karat gold leaf, Hunt was drawn to repreating patterns consisting of geometric shapes and forms. (photo courtesy Uprise Art)

Frequently printing in a limited color palette of black, grey, turquoise, and gold, she often marked her works with 24-karat gold leaf, which she attributed to the gilded artworks of the African diaspora, the Art Deco movement, and Austrian painter Gustav Klimt in an interview with interior design company 54kibo. She also noted a nostalgic connection to the element, recalling the popularity of gold jewelry throughout her growing up.

“Gold is a part of my memory bank from childhood through adolescence: gold bangles stacked high on the arms of my grandmother who traveled throughout the Caribbean and would wear them during visits to us during the holidays,” Hunt said at the time. “I was fascinated by their weight, the sound of them clinking, and the warmth they conducted.”

In 2020, Hunt collaborated with textile and product designer Lori Weitzner to create a line of wall coverings and textiles, and last spring, she launched a line of stoneware tiles honoring her late mother, Asha Hunt, that was created in collaboration with designer Ann Sacks.

“Lisa described herself as being very shy as a child, and from an early age she was fascinated with creating patterns, observing and cataloging the world around her in a soothing game of repetition and reflection,” a spokesperson for Uprise Art, the New York gallery that represented Hunt from 2017 onward, said in a statement shared with Hyperallergic.

“She was drawn to how gold represents prosperity, abundance, and illumination, but she was bold in her applications, never shying away from cutting through, and collaging, images to create a new composition,” the statement continued. “The infinity symbol and hourglass were recurring symbols in Lisa’s work. Although the hour of her time with us has passed, her legacy will live on through her work.”

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A close-up of Hunt’s work, which consisted of precisely cut gold leaf on acrylic-painted canvases and screens. (photo courtesy Uprise Art)

In 2023, her work was included in the group show Too Much Is Just Right: The Legacy of Pattern and Decoration at the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina. She has also exhibited at the Design Museum of Chicago, Claire Oliver Gallery in New York, Trout Museum of Art in Wisconsin, and the International Print Center New York. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Asheville Art Museum and Minnesota’s Weisman Museum, according to her obituary written by her husband, artist Kyle Goen, and sisters Tracy Hunt, Monifa Hunt, Gracelline Hunt, and Lisa Pinceloup.

In addition to Goen and her three sisters, Hunt is survived by her father James A. Hunt; her brother Brightzen Hunt; her dog Sally; and a host of relatives and friends. A private memorial service for family and friends will take place this weekend, with a public memorial to follow at a later date.



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