Tony Wight Gallery is pleased to announce Half Life, Half Light, a solo exhibition of paintings by Leslie Baum. This will be the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
The works in Half Life, Half Light extend Baum’s ongoing engagement of oppositional tensions present within painting—abstraction and representation, the somber and the celebratory, transparency and opacity, mass and atmosphere. In a continuation of past exhibitions, these paintings utilize and make reference to actual observed landscapes; in this case the Angkor Wat Ruins of Cambodia.
Baum says of her experience of the ruins, “...I felt many things, an overwhelming presence of time, its indiscriminate ability to destroy all things. An impulse to rebuild.”
These paintings are not, however, portraits of the Angkor Wat Ruins. While piles of rubble, sculptures, and other elements of its architecture remain faintly recognizable, these are ultimately just another material or problem for Baum to react against. The paintings are able to maintain a deep sense of ambiguity by working actively against privileging any one element over another. Depictions of sculptures and piles quickly begin to disintegrate into thin washes of color, flattening into the surrounding space, and confounding not only the subject matter of the paintings but also the orientation and scale of their various elements. Consequently, the subject of these works appears to be Painting itself and the tension between content, tone and process.
Leslie Baum (American, b. 1971) received a B.A. from the University of Vermont in 1993 and studied at the Glasgow School of Art in 1992. Recent solo exhibitions include The Space Between (2006) and My Mountain, My Molehill (2004) at Tony Wight / Bodybuilder & Sportsman Gallery. Group exhibitions include Private at CRG Gallery in New York, Associate Realms at Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco, and Here and Now at The Chicago Cultural Center.