Join us the evening of November 15th at LivingRoom for the opening of our new exhibit from Lesile Baurm, In Progress: the Plein Air Project.
This exhibition is a peek into a project Leslie Baum has been engaged in for the past two years. The Plein Air Project, as she calls it, introduced an intentional social process into her painting practice, transforming both her paintings and the relationships that sustain them. The project initially grew out of a desire to move away from working with art historical source materials— Baum had been sampling and interpreting the likes of Matisse, Cézanne, and Miró for more than a decade—toward working with images generated by friends, peers, colleagues, and even strangers, artists and non-artists alike.
Everything begins with an invitation. Baum asks someone to join her on a painting date, in which her guest and she paint together in a park, backyard, or other natural area. They sit side by side, fully present, take in the landscape, and translate some aspect of the experience into small-scale watercolors. As someone who has invested significant energy over the course of her life into fostering and nurturing friendships and relationships, she was curious to discover how painting one-on-one with an intimate, colleague, or new person would feel. How would it differ from simply hanging out with a friend or contrast with the solitude of the studio?
The idiosyncratic watercolors featured in this exhibition were created by either Baum or one of her companions on her many painting dates. She uses them as source material for her studio-based practice. From printouts of these watercolors, she generates collages—free associations riffing on the formal, emotional, and geographical undercurrents inherent in each work and painting date experience. These collages then become studies for larger paintings, part-landscape and part-imagination, rooted in the intimacy, vulnerability, and sharing that typifies each