In January 2017 the Trump administration took office, which was motivation to begin a new series, the Transitions, but it could also be called the Gathering Storm. I'm tapping into the upheaval of these times to make a statement, but this series is more than a commentary on current events. The paintings also serve as a metaphor for all human situations and conditions, where we're threatened by dark clouds but we gravitate towards a powerful light.
There are also instances in this series where there is little or no visible ground, which is a symbol for "nowhere to stand, no ground beneath our feet." When the orbs appear, they guide us to the light. Light is always the saving grace or ultimate destination.
This series illustrates the disarming beauty of nature, whether it's in a state of chaos or a "hallelujah moment" – or the "transition" from one to the other state.
"To the casual observer, the work of Leslie Neumann evokes a distinctive paradox. It is both passionate and soothing, powerful and disarming, apocalyptic and transcendent, predictable with an element of surprise. It's a dichotomy of sensations from an artist intent on peering into nature's soul." Lara Bradburn, Tampa Tribune
I moved from New York City, population 8 million, to Aripeka, Florida, a small fishing village with 397 people on the Gulf of Mexico. My home and studio are surrounded by more than 14,000 acres of coastal wilderness. All of this beauty has inspired and influenced me as an artist. Every day I’m engaged by its raw, primitive energy.
I'm a landscape painter, but "landscape" is a loosely applied word; what I end up with is hardly any commonplace landscape.
"Aripeka resident Leslie Neumann is dedicated to preserving Florida’s wetlands, but the wetlands are scarcely recognizable in her color-infused paintings. Instead, they become places inhabited by sorcerers, where swamp grass erupts in flames that appear to have been started by supernatural forces." — Joanne Milani, Sarasota Herald