Joyful palimpsests

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

Really love this work by SF-based artist Leah Rosenberg. The pieces are made from sheets of acrylic paint layered over time. Stacked, they look like water-curled pages of old books, dyed in technicolor. The paint becomes form, rather than just surface. She writes:

My paintings are time and process-based works that combine elements of layering, systems of accrual, and color. I allow and encourage the build-up of paint to act in a three dimensional manner, at times to the point of doing away with the support altogether. These layers of paint function as a way to mark the passage of time, but also reveal the paints’ inherent materiality as it begins to take on its own shape. I select the colors based on personal systems, sometimes based on the text from a book that I am reading or lyrics of a song, other times reflecting a telephone call home to Saskatchewan, or the colors of the clothing worn by people who visit my studio throughout that day.

I love this idea of the shape of time accrued — the way each layer is a visualization of a moment, a chunk of time distilled into color and given shape by the ones that follow. Like a sedimentary rock in luminous, abundant color. And, not to overthink things too much, the pieces just look so wonderfully tactile.

Leah is having a show in SF at 18 Reasons, 593 Guerrero St., which opens Thursday, May 13. If you’re in the Bay Area, check it out (and send me some pictures, will you?).

May 12th, 2010


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