Leah Tinari: Perfect Strangers
Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce Leah Tinari’s fifth solo exhibition. This is the first time Tinari will exhibit portrait paintings of strangers.
For over a decade, Leah Tinari captured the nightlife, celebrations, and vacations of her friends and family. Using imagery captured on her personal camera, she painted familiar faces and situations in which she herself was often participating. People in Tinari’s life appeared and reappeared until the viewer began to feel comfortable in Tinari’s intimate circle.
During her last solo exhibition at Mixed Greens, Tinari installed a handmade, low-tech photo booth amid her paintings, where visitors could sit and snap photos. The sitter was able to choose a background fabric and then press the shutter button, knowing the artist would catalog the photos. Up until that point, Tinari’s subjects were, for the most part, candid in their poses. Now her subjects acted as formal sitters, looking into the lens, knowing what might happen.
Over the past year, Tinari painted a selection of these photo booth snapshots. In doing so, she was able to document one aspect of an exhibition that most artists do not get to witness—the everyday gallery-goers who view their work over the course of a show. Turning the tables on the viewer, Tinari closely examined the very visitors who initially examined her paintings. In this way, Perfect Strangers pays homage to the viewer.
In addition to the expanses of patterned, draped fabric in the background of each painting, new dimensions have been incorporated into Tinari’s work: a self-consciousness, a nod to historical portraiture, and a diversity of people, textures, and expressions that were absent in previous series. The ‘red-eye,’ messy hair, and exuberant gestures of her prior lexicon have been transformed by the stillness of the sitters holding their poses until the camera shutters.
Leah Tinari graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1998 and had her first New York City solo show with Mixed Greens in 2003. Other solo venues include District Fine Arts, Washington DC (2009); NuLu Gallery, Louisville, KY (2008); Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (2007); and Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago, IL (2006). Group exhibition venues include Supreme Trading in Brooklyn, the Bronx River Art Center, the Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, the Dumbo Art Center in Brooklyn, Lombard-Freid Gallery in New York City, and Gale Gates in Brooklyn. In 2009, Tinari painted famous female athletes for Nike’s Delicious campaign and in 2011 she will have solo exhibitions in both Spain and Italy through rojo artspace. She is currently included in an exhibition at the Museum of Art in South Bend, Indiana.