FOUR new one-person shows in 2023 and 2024!
Leslie Neumann, Artist’s Statement
After living in New York City for 20 years, population 8 million, I moved to Aripeka, Florida, a small fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico, population 395. My home and studio are surrounded by 15,000 of acres of coastal wetlands. All this beauty has inspired and influenced me as an artist, and every day I’m engaged by its raw, primitive energy.
I produce two bodies of work, both landscapes.
One series is the Wetlands Series, which I began 35 years ago. Initially I did “scenes viewed through the window,” but now my Wetlands Series is characterized by close-up views of lush, semi-tropical environments with saturated colors. I shifted to this close-up perspective because the “kayak point of view” places the viewer IN the salt marsh, surrounded by steamy beauty. I often say that my paintings are a contrast of seductive beauty coupled with an invitation to adventure.
My Transitions Series started in November 2016, because I was (and still am) alarmed at some developments in our domestic politics, but because I make beautiful landscapes, I wasn’t sure how I could express my concerns. The answer for me was to make large scale paintings with an immense sky filled with storm clouds. Often there is very little visible ground, which is symbolic of “nowhere to stand, no ground beneath our feet.”
My painting medium is encaustic, or hot beeswax, which produces beautiful, rich surfaces. As you view my work from across the room, the illusion of deep space draws you into my landscapes. But what appears as a realistic scene when viewed from afar, quickly dissolves into abstraction as you approach the painting.
While my artwork does fulfill one of my primary objectives – to create beauty, I also achieved my other objective – do good in the world – by being a citizen activist, focused on land preservation. I’m one of the founding members of a local land trust called The Gulf Coast Conservancy which advocated for the protection of environmentally sensitive lands by placing them into public ownership. Since 1992, we have facilitated the preservation of 15,000 precious coastal acres – – the same acres which serve as my artistic inspiration.I’m a graduate of California College of Arts in Oakland, California, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and a Master of Art degree in painting from New York University in Manhattan. My work is in the permanent collections of 9 museums, 75 corporate collections nationwide, and has been exhibited in 90 shows in the past 30 years.
“After living in New York City for 20 years, population 8 million, I moved to Aripeka, Florida, a small fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico, population 395. My home and studio are surrounded by more than 15,000 acres of coastal wetlands which have influenced and inspired me as a painter. Everyday I’m engaged by the raw, primitive energy of my immediate environment”