Changing Venues

Yes, I am in the process of downsizing and moving and what a move it is. My husband David and I have been talking throughout the pandemic about what energy it takes to maintain our property which is a compound of studio and house in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico, US. Even with zero landscape and minimalist sensibility we felt that it took too much time away from our pursuits—my art and David’s community work.

So we have looked about for the ‘next place’ that would require less time and effort—we covered 3 states and came back to our own New Mexico. In 2021 we found that a new apartment was being built in downtown Santa Fe and we decided that would require our downsizing and give us the urban experience we enjoy.

We spent a lot of time looking for my studio and an office rental and finally found accommodations across the street from the apartment. So the transition has begun. After unloading a lot of ‘stuff’ we moved into the apartment July 2, and the studio and offices will follow.

But as my recent newsletter can attest the move, though slowing me down a bit and requiring time, has not diverted my art endeavors. I enjoyed participating in the Portugal group exhibition “earth@Faro” curated by Paulo Duarte Filipe. We spent part of a morning ‘messaging’ one another to get my “Boundless” pieces hung. My regret was not going to Faro as seeing pictures of some of the artists frolicking on the beach made me very envious. It’s always an adventure and a pleasure to exhibit internationally. And there will be more exhibits in Portugal to report.

The group exhibition, “Arctic Summer” at The Curated creative in Albuquerque was beautifully curated by the Director, Brianne Clarkson. The events— an opening, an artist talk and a cocktail/poetry reading (by me) were an exceptional way to celebrate art and community.

My wonderful assistant, Stefan Jennings Batista ‑a talented artist/photographer/educator, is the curator, of my solo exhibition at the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House.  He tackled this task with much enthusiasm and we look forward to exhibiting in the Museum’s gallery space located in the former Fechin studio.

For this exhibit Batista selected the theme of WOODmetal because that aligned with Fechin’s own sensibility. and practice while he lived and worked in Taos. The exhibit will show my art made of or influenced by wood and reflected surfaces of metal. It opens September 9 with my reading poetry and will close October 16. Fechin’s house and grounds which have been restored are worth the trip to Taos!
You will hear from me next this winter as a Writing Artist in Residence in Fairhope, Alabama. I’m quite excited, stay tuned…

 

2022 New Year Updates

Sense Memories – solo exhibition at CCA Santa FE

Join us for a guided tour of Sense Memories
Click HERE or on the image below to learn more and get tickets!


Peruse the images here of Sense Memories curated with the intention of creating peaceful spaces for people to pause, relax and contemplate positive feelings through their sense memories. You are encouraged to move slowly and still frequently to have dialogue with the reductive art.

Upcoming Solo Exhibition & Other Shows


Opening Reception  Friday, December 3 | 5-7pm
Exhibiting  December 3 2021 – February 27 2022
Poetry Reading
Saturday December 4 | 6-7pm
Curated by Laura Carpenter

I am happy to announce my upcoming solo exhibition Sense Memories at the CCA Santa Fe. Please come join us for the opening on Friday December 3, from 5-7pm. Curated by Laura Carpenter, Sense Memories will present a variety of my works across mediums in their beautiful Tank Garage Gallery. I will also be presenting in a group poetry reading the following Saturday. Hope to see ya there.
Click Here to read more.


My new book of poetry Engrained: Reflections on Trees in Poetry & Art is now available. This beautiful little softcover presents contemplative personal writing on trees, the environment and is accompanied my unique views of my artwork. Pick up a copy here.


I am featured in the group exhibition Structured Surfaces at the Curated Creative ABQ curated by Brianne Clarkson featuring 5 local artists.

Marietta in Lifetime Artist Exhibition

Marietta Patricia Leis participating in:
Lifetime Artists: Michael Warren Contemporary
McNichols Civic Center Building, Third floor, Denver
October 16 – December 19, 2021

 

Some artists are ephemeral, moving fleetingly in and out of the public eye. Others hold fast to their discipline, and move through the decades with a stalwart dedication to their evolving work.

“Lifetime Artists: Michael Warren Contemporary” salutes these artists of longevity, highlighting those who are at least 70 years old and have been practicing their artistic craft for a least 45 years. This exhibit features the mature work of twelve artists from the Michael Warren Contemporary Gallery, and is guest curated by gallery owner, Mike McClung with Featured Artists:

Natalie Alper, Rita Blitt, Eva Bovenzi, John Garrett, Jody Guralnick, Pamela Joseph, Marietta Patricia Leis, Robert Mangold, Lorelei Schott, Brian Shields, Allison Stewart, Floyd Tunson

Related events:
Opening Reception – Oct. 15, 5 p.m.
Virtual Tour/Discussion with Mike McClung – Nov. 11, 11 a.m.

To learn more click HERE

Reveal, by Leis, Installation of oil on unique shaped wood formats, painted on both sides

 

Breath Taking Exhibition Write Up


https://nmartmuseum.org/education/cypher-space/2021/06/02/breath-taking/

 

BREATH TAKING

by Sharon McCawley Curatorial Docent:

           

Currently on view at the New Mexico Museum of Art, from March 13 through September 5, 2021, is the exhibit BREATH TAKING  in which various, contemporary artists present their interpretations of the physical and symbolic act of breathing. The materials  and methods  include clay, paper, ink,  earth, video, photographs, water color. The exhibit, organized by Katherine Ware the Curator of Photography, and designed by Matt Celeskey and Monica Meehan, has been planned for  several years, before our critical focus on the automatic act of breathing arose. Original supplemental activities involving yoga exercises and breath control exercises for singing or playing an instrumental had to be removed. Instead thought exercises on birth, death, the environment, George Floyd, and Covid demand our attention.

Here are some thematic interpretations visible in the exhibit. Linda Alterwitz  Just Breathe 2013-2015 asked subjects to lie down with a camera placed on their chests. Ms. Alterwitz photographed thirty second exposures of these individuals’ breaths. Looking at these images reinforces the similarity between the cosmos and the human body; this interconnection is referenced throughout the exhibit. Stuart Allen Soap Bubbles, Bubble No.12, Bubble No.10, 2015 has created videos and photographic prints of soap bubbles which contain the volume of human breath. The bubbles like clouds float and radiate color. The evanescence of a bubble puts into perspective the span of an individual human life in the universe. Alison Keogh Sumi-Scapes 2009 uses ink and brush to record the patterns of her own breathing. She also creates ceramic spheres Black and White Spheres, 2015 which contain the volume of a human breath. These orbs can refer to individual molecules in our bodies; the materials of earth and clay again connect the individual to the entire world.  Marietta Patricia Leis Breath 1, Breath 2, 2019 presents us with ink patterns printed on silk panels. The fabric is so light that it moves in response to the air circulating around it. You can stand and try to match the movements of your own breath to the movements of the fabrics creating a relaxing and harmonious emotion. The colors seem to range from celestial to fatal, pastels which evoke the dawn and grey which evokes a shroud or a winding sheet; it could be the span of a human life. Meridel Rubenstein Respiration (New Mexico), 2009-2011 clearly presents the symbiosis between people and the environment. Her photograph displays the actual transfer of oxygen and carbon necessary for the continued existence of our planet.

 

Dating back to the Renaissance is the concept of correspondence, the relationship between the microcosm of the individual human being to the macrocosm of the universe. John Donne wrote “I am a little world cunningly made.” There is a connection between our movements of breathing in and out and the movements of air in the world which cause wind, hurricanes, rain, drought. The literary conceit of “pathetic fallacy” maintains this inner and outer correspondence, our sighs are winds, our tears are rain, our rants are storms. In our age, this is more than symbolism. It is apparent that actions of humans deeply affect our environment just as strongly as the forces of the environment affect humans.

The symbolism of air and breath are universal leitmotifs evident in many cultures. Realize that breath communicates and it infects. It carries music and it carries death throughout the world. Ancient Egyptians believed that Shu, the God of Air, connects earth and heaven.  Air literally carries our prayers up to Heaven. The Chinese believe in Tao, the breath that never dies, and is the Mother to all creation. The Inuits literally define Death as losing your breath.

The Sanskrits write in their sacred text UPANISHADS “Just as spokes are held together in a wheel-hub, everything  is held together  in the breath.” This reminds us that the rhythm of breathing matches the rhythm of the universe.

 

There are many allusions, both literal and numinous, to  this rhythm  in the works you will see and experience.

“ I Can’t Breathe” the final plea of George Floyd lasted for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Think about what you can accomplish within that length of time if you are cooking, drawing, knitting, reading, dancing, composing, playing a musical instrument or singing. For a quick reference, note that the Star Spangled Banner  lasts for 3 minutes 30 seconds, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro lasts for 5 minutes 9 seconds, and Hey Jude lasts for 8 minutes and 9 seconds

We constantly  need breath to speak, so reflect upon the connotations of  these words and phrases that we use everyday:

 

taking a breather

getting some air

time to catch your breath

inspiration

expiration

inflation

deflation

breathe a sigh of relief

breathing down your neck

don’t breathe a word

mention in the same breath

 

.

Take a deep breath as you experience BREATH TAKING  at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

There is a saying in Neverland, that every time you breathe a grown-up dies.

– PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie

A Welcomed Spring

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.                                                                                                                                                                ~  B. C. Forbes

I hope this finds you well and cautiously optimistic and hopeful as we start looking at ‘live’ art again for inspiration

I’ve been making art throughout the pandemic but the work has had a mind of its own influenced by the virus, and I had to yield to its voice. Thus the diverse group of paintings I made in ’20-’21 is more about internal landscapes than the outside environment. But, since the human is comprised of the same elements as our planet we are intertwined and what affects us impacts everything and vise versa.

The Eclipse series of work I referenced in my previous News has made its debut in January at the Michael Warren Contemporary in Denver


Here is other new work:

REVEAL


This group of 16 paintings completed in 2020 called, Reveal (oil on unique wood forms) really led me a merry chase.

They demanded a variety of colors which led me veering from my original intentions by finding influence in the Covid-19 virus.


 

Reveal 

disclose, tell, let slip, let drop, give away,

blurt (out)

release, leak, make known,

make public, broadcast, publicize,

circulate, disseminate, let on, show, display, exhibit,

disclose, uncover, unveil, uncloak.

bring to light, uncover, lay bare,

excavate,

expose,

unearth


Other Side of Numbness

January of 2021 brought some positive changes to our forecasts and I found that I could relax a smidge and express some of my frustrations and thus feel more grounded in doing so. This inspired a group of 12+ paintings 3 of which are are large 60″ x 60″ canvases, I call Other Side of Numbness.

After so many restrictions and fears of Covid-19 something switched for me in these 2021 ink and gesso paintings. I threw off the chains of confinement and struck back. The transition was not planned–my mind did not control the hand. My heart knew I had to beat my fears into submission by letting the ink express the chaos and heaviness I felt. It was then that I started to settle and began to feel a new grounded-ness.These paintings reflect the internal landscape of the pandemic eon and also the ‘other side of numbness’.

 


Work on Paper

Some of my ‘work on paper’ that has been residing in my flat files, needed to escape its confinement–I think we can all relate to that! Now they have smart new white frames.

This work is ready for installations of groups or a single work strikingly holding its own!

Nightscapes – 5 framed works 
done in residency in Doi Saket, Northern Thailand observing unpolluted night skies (pen on paper).


 

Chimes – 15  and 3 larger pieces,
done in residency on a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, US-with shimmering waters (watercolor on paper).


Mercurial – 5  framed pieces,
Done on Flores Island, Portugal during storms at sea that prevented
boats from coming into harbor. (Ink on paper)


Fluidity Focus  – 18 framed pieces,
Also done in residency on the Azores Island, Flores, Portugal while watching the fickle seas change hue frequently. (watercolor on paper)


May our lives continue to open and expand with caution and hope. And, may we carry forth the lessons we have learned during the pandemic trial.
– mpl

A NEW YEAR!

So happy to kick 2020 out of the Door and wish all of you a bright and
optimistic 2021! Michael Warren Contemporary will have a ‘live’ an exhibition of
gallery artists this month and I will be showing several pieces of my new work of 2020,
Eclipse. Following below, find both my artist statement of this work and also my poem. Enjoy!


ECLIPSE  
(hidden and revealed) a statement

Eclipse is a series of paintings of Flashe© and copper leaf on panel and linen.The series came about from my infatuation with the idea of a black surface that would not reflect at all—an echoless environment.

Black has been a thematic visitor in my work for a while. Mystery, fear, discovery, velvet, night etc…all intrigue me

I pursued this evasive black relentlessly for several weeks. After many trials I arrived at Flashe©, a black that one sinks into and doesn’t return, a black hole.
I then began to think of light trying to creep over the edges – like that of an eclipse when the light of the sun limns from the obscurity of darkness. The play of light and dark, what was dominant and what was subsumed, bifurcated and partial, became the intention of the work.

The paintings speak to the sublime and offer glimpses into the infinite landscapes of the internal and external.

 


ECLIPSE 
a series of paintings of Flashe© and copper leaf

 

Darkness absorbing light limned with copper
Dark days, dark nights, dark thoughts
with the promise of better times

Black obscuring light-but light sneaking out
Glowing hope and promise
Warming black’s mystery

There is a game of hide and seek
within an ecliptic peek a’ boo
But what is hiding

And as we move into the black
familiarizing ourselves with its velvet purr
It soothes and comforts

Black doesn’t eclipse the light
It accents the light, brightens it
Illuminating the night

Perhaps the light obscures the black
lessening its prominence
equalizing the power held

Partial eclipse hints at attempting balance
Weighing, evaluating, thinking
compromising, negotiating

No loss of significance, power, prominence
Deep thoughts evoke fairness
Black and copper both shining


 

Chaos Extended

During this extended time of chaos and pandemic I hope that you are okay. Like many of you I am entering my seventh month of staying-at-home that sometimes glides by with ease and sometimes seems interminable. For me this is a supreme exercise/lesson in yielding—to overlook that the to-do list that doesn’t get completed and to not judge myself or others for how they are coping. This is hard times and I need to remind myself that we need to be gentle with ourselves and others.

My MailChimp newsletters tell you of my goings and comings so I hope you are signed up to receive them. I am so impressed with galleries and museums and their staffs that have opened with protocols— people really need to experience art for inspiration. My art is currently showing at my Denver and California galleries. Also at the newly opened Curated Creative gallery in Albuquerque.

I am also adding some photos of the exhibits that went ‘live’ in July and December in South Korea and Istanbul so you can appreciate the global community keeping art alive! 

In the studio I have some newly finished wood sculptures and am painting on round shaped wooden formats. I am also busy framing some of my work on paper and printing books of my series of art. My studio practice set in stone a long time ago gives my days structure and bliss.

My book, The Silent Road, can now be ordered through Blurb. It documents through my words this sculptural painting that was an important part of my 2019. CLICK HERE: THE SILENT ROAD BOOK

I leave you with my recent poem, Communication, that I’ve added to my growing ‘pandemic’ file:

COMMUNICATION

My art isn’t completed without

the viewer participating

where is the dialogue

alone in my studio

 

Yes, of course I make art

to express my ideas,

concerns and feelings

but not just for me

 

No, I am saying something

putting it out there

for discussion as I would

speaking over a coffee

 

Of course, a viewer

might not agree with me

my abstract thoughts

may not suit their sensibility

 

But a friend would listen

would consider my ideas

and even disagreeing

a dialogue would ensue

 

Art is communication

it is not complete

without the viewer

participating

 

So the work feels lonely

abandoned and sad

sitting on studio walls

with no one to speak to
_____________________

– Until next time stay well and see art whenever possible!

Marietta

 

 

 

2020 Update

Hoping you are all well and safe during these surreal days of the virus pandemic. I haven’t written a NEWS in 2020 for the reasons that we are all living and adjusting to—coronavirus. My schedule was eradicated—exhibits, travel—as was that of so many. But I am fortunate because I always work a great deal alone with my studio steps away from my home. My life has diminished in some regards but has not stopped and I am well. The pandemic world/human conditions does permeate and distract my days with an assortment of sadness, uncertainty and chaos. But there are the small precious positive things that I embrace everyday that nature and human connections provide.


I’ll share a bit the artwork in progress that I’ve been up to. I recently completed a series of copper and matte black paintings titled Eclipse; exploring the boundaries of dark and light.

These recent paintings of black and copper inspired me to extend that theme to a couple of wall reliefs. The wood was burned by the Shou Sugi Ban Japanese method that I like for its extraordinary range of black effects and the symbolism of burning wood.

Also I’ve have finally gotten to the first stages of painting the round shape of our earth’s colors on wooden formats. They will also be painted on the concave side.

My idea for these pieces has been evolving for a long time and this pause has given me the time to focus on them. As the concept evolves I will share more with you.

Poetry has been a mainstay during this period and I now have the budding of a stay-in-place group of work. I will revisit and edit them after our pandemic emergency when I have more insight and distance from the emotional onslaught of the situation.

_______

Familiar

Stay @ home
Work from home
All familiar to me

The silence
The stillness
My life pattern

Write my thoughts
Paint my feelings
My practice

But difficult
when virus
dictates

Not me
_______

If you feel so inclined please let me know how you are doing-I’d love to hear from you.
All my best wishes, for your safety and health,

-Marietta

Old Year/New Year

As a greeting for this New Year I’m quoting the words of Kurt Vonnegut that hang in my studio:

“Be Soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

2019 and 2020 are overlapping in my life because some of my exhibits that began in ’19 are running over into ’20. Also talks of exhibitions that began in 2019 will find fruition in this year.

I like the smooth transition as I prepare new work in the studio.


Sharon McCawley, a Curatorial Docent at the New Mexico Museum of Art wrote the following piece for their website that reflects on trees and the Alcove 20/20 exhibit at the Museum in which I am participating.

THE WOOD WIDE WEB:

THE ARTISTRY AND MORALITY OF

MARIETTA PATRICIA LEIS

AND

ROBERT MACFARLANE

            It is worse than boorish, it is criminal to inflict an unnecessary injury on the tree that feeds or shadows us.                                                                                  Henry David Thoreau

No, the title is not a misprint; both the world wide web and the wood wide web are templates for connections and communications. The world web connects humans and the wood web connects trees. Together they are essential for sustenance, support, and solace. Together they are the basis for the visual art of Marietta Patricia Leis and the verbal art of Robert Macfarlane.

            Marietta Patricia Leis is exhibiting selections from her series ENGRAINED: Ode to Trees (2019) part of ALCOVES 20/20 No.2 at the New Mexico Museum of Art until February 9, 2020.  The exhibit is a symbiotic ode to trees and their representations, an appreciation of their value for supplying  shelter, food, shade, rest, purification, and beauty. Ultimately, trees and their replications as created by Ms. Leis are the purest forms of physical rebirth and spiritual regeneration. The artist reflects about “walking among trees to dispel the stress of life and maintain mental health.” The viewers of her works can achieve the same transformation.

            Her paintings Symbiosis I, II are green portals or windows into the forest, glowing with a subtle illumination. They are not monochromatic, but varied in tone and texture, a result of many layers of painting and sanding. The paintings actually grow like trees, gifting us with translucency and peace. The layers of paint can symbolize the rings of the tree. The viewer actually feels like falling in and moving through the canvas, as if entering the world of Green Mansions (1904), the romantic and ecological novel by W. H. Hudson which praises the wilderness while warning of the danger of man encroaching upon nature.

            Resting on the floor below the canvases are Traces 1,3,2 parts of a salvaged limb from a mimosa tree which fell on her roof during a storm. She saved the pieces of the tree and transformed them, granting us continuity and reclamation. The association with worldwide deforestation due to clearings, fires, pollution is inevitable.  Another one of her trees, this time a spruce, is the inspiration for Splinter. The 30 foot high tree died on Ms. Leis’ property and, unfortunately, had to be cut down.  Again she preserved the pieces which she sanded, equating grains of wood with brushstrokes.  She also equates the living form with the dead lying on the same spectrum of our world.  The ultimate experience is of memory for loss and hope for rebirth.

            Ms. Leis uses the forms of print, paint, sculpture, video, photography to express her environmental concerns; “I worry about our incredible blue and green planet’s survival.” We honor her theme when we appreciate her artistry.

            We can support the sustainability of trees with protecting forestlands, controlling land clearing, and reversing climate change. Trees support us with providing food, medicine, and literally air.  What is remarkable is how trees support each other. Robert Macfarlane , author of UNDERLAND (2019) provides the verbal counterpoint to Ms. Leis visual imagery. The book convinces the reader of the vital interconnection between the human and the natural world.  Just as humans generously empathize with and help each other, so do trees. Macfarlane describes how trees can sense when one of them is lacking nutrition or is falling under stress. They actually develop joint underground root systems to share nutrients to nurse the patient back to health. The healthy trees develop hyphae, microscopically thin fungi, which connect at the cellular level and weave together underground root systems, a true wood wide web. Individual trees do not compete for resources, they collaborate and nurture each other. This is a lesson we can all follow.

            If there is human meaning to be made of the wood wide web, it is surely that what might save us as we move forwards into the precarious, unsettled centuries ahead is collaboration: mutualism, symbiosis, the inclusive human work of collective decision making extended to more-than- human communities. (113).

            Marietta Patricia Leis sculpts and paints, Richard Macfarlane writes and explores. The least we can do is to consider their thoughts and expressions.

Sharon McCawley

Curatorial Docent


Please take a look at the article that the New Mexico alumni magazine, Mirage included about me and my art