Lisbeth Firmin is a contemporary American realist whose paintings and monotypes explore the relationship between people and their urban environment, while simultaneously capturing the energy and light of a specific moment in time. Her urban landscapes, following in the tradition of earlier realists such as John Sloan, George Bellows, and Edward Hopper, depict a feeling of human solitude, of people headed somewhere undisclosed. She is not interested in producing a literal translation of her subject matter, but aims instead to ride the line between abstraction and realism, letting the viewer provide the final interpretation.
Firmin has been drawing and painting since childhood, and studied independently with printmaker Seong Moy, and painters Philip Malicoat, Victor Candell, and Leo Manso in Provincetown in the early 70’s. Her art has expanded from early depictions of lonely highways done from solitary road trips, to painting the neighborhoods and street scenes surrounding her downtown New York City apartment, where she lived for more than 25 years. Firmin’s work evolved further after a move to upstate New York in 2000, as she gradually moved away from the street scenes to concentrating more on the light on the human figure in an urban environment.
Firmin has been the recipient of many grants and fellowships, including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Printmaking 2007 (Lily Auchincloss Fellow), a Community Arts Funding Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, and full fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, National Seashore Cape Cod Dune Shack Residency, Vermont Studio School, and Saltonstall Arts Colony. Other awards include: 2017 Printmaking Residency @ Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, Venice, Italy, and a Printmaking Residency @ Tides Institute in Eastport ME (2016).
Five of her ‘Venice’ monoprints were curated into the 2018 Radius 50 Competition, at Woodstock Art Association and Museum, Woodstock, NY. Two of her monotypes were curated into the North American Print Biennial 2018, Boston, MA. 2017 and into “New Prints Winter/2018” at the International Print Center New York. Solo exhibitions include, “Alone” at 1053 Main Street Gallery, Fleischmanns (2021), “Passing Time”, Rice Polak Gallery, Provinctown, MA (2021). In 2017 she was in several solo exhibitions: “Saltonstall Retrospective, Fellow Lisbeth Firmin” at eye/blink, Ithaca, NY, and “Lisbeth Firmin, Prints & Paintings” at the William & Ida Friday Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, MURAL in Hobart, NY, “Urban Painter in the Country”, and “Venice Monotypes”, at the Franklin Stage Company, Franklin, NY. Other recent shows include “Lisbeth Firmin, Working the Light,” a solo show of monoprints at the Roxbury Arts Group, Roxbury, NY (2015), “Reflections,” a solo show featuring 12 new paintings at the Rice-Polak Gallery in Provincetown, MA ( 2014); “Moments in Time,” a solo retrospective at the Martin-Mullen Fine Arts Gallery at SUNY Oneonta (2013); and “Coming Home,” a solo show at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art, in Eastport, ME (2013). Several monoprints were included in the 2013 “63rd Exhibition of Central New York Artists” at the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY. Her work appeared in the Hofstra University’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition, “The Lyon, The Which, and the Warhol.” Firmin was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Taft School in Watertown, CT in 2011.
Firmin’s paintings and prints are found in several public collections including the New York Historical Society, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA, Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY, Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT, Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY, The Tides Institute & Museum of Art, Eastport, ME, University of Texas, Cape Cod Museum, and Hofstra University. Her work is part of the corporate collections of Pfizer, Meditech Corporation, Thomson Reuters, Bankers Trust, Odyssey, Fidelity Investments, Cablevision, and Zurich Insurance. Private collectors include Philip Glass, M. Night Shayamalan, Roz Chast, Robert Rothchild, Jack Beal and Sondra Freckelton, and Tom Morgan and Erna McReynolds.
Her work has been written about in The New York Times, Provincetown Arts, The Boston Globe, Constellation 617, Arts Magazine, American Art Collector, and numerous other publications.
Firmin teaches drawing at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston Salem, NC and painting/printmaking at the Truro Center for the Arts, Castle Hill, Cape Cod, MA.
Her current work in monoprints and oils can be found on her website: lisbethfirmin.com