A native New Yorker, Risa Korris has combined a career in painting and film since becoming a staff camerawoman for CBS network News. Her oil paintings have a signature style influenced by photography with tightly framed subjects formed by light and suspended in time. The two disciplines often intersect. During her years shooting for CBS’ “60 Minutes”, the paintings had a narrative, documentary quality depicting people caught off guard and un-posed. Beaches in particular, offered ideal subjects – sun drenched bodies dusted by sand, framed by colorful wraps alongside oceans.
When her career moved into producing large budget television commercials for Clairol and Revlon, Risa started art directing her paintings with glamorous subjects set in trendy urban landscapes or Hampton playgrounds. Poolside figures flaunting physical perfection and confident self-absorption formed large graphic tableaus. The works found their way onto the walls of Hollywood Studios and Hampton homes. New York’s flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store created window displays around the paintings, forming a “gallery” down the Avenue.
Movie location work lead to the “Dancer” series – paintings that suspended movement much like advancing film frames. Dancers from modern companies Momix, Pilobolus, and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet posed for canvases, their sculpted forms set against landscapes of sky and water. In 2008, during six months in Spain on the Xavier Gonzalez Grant, Risa photographed leading national companies at locations from the Canary Islands to the rooftops of Madrid. A New York City Grant exhibition followed in 2009.
Risa is well known for her FruitScape series – a modern play on the traditional still life. The paintings set the bold sculptural shapes and brash colors of seasonal fruits against their native horizons forming surreal landscapes. The series was first inspired by a local farm near her home in Roxbury, Connecticut. Through travels, she explored local markets searching for the most striking and natural produce. Mounds of blemished oranges from a market in Rio, pockmarked tangerines from Essaouira Morocco, lemons on vines from a Palm Springs orchard, made their way onto large envelope shaped canvases. The series was exhibited in numerous Connecticut galleries and at Citibank HQ in New York City.
Risa currently paints at her studio in midtown Manhattan and continues photographic assignments for museums and television.