Meet Leah Rosenberg!
In our latest digital interview, artist Leah Rosenberg gives us some additional insights into her work from San Francisco.
Tell us briefly about the focus of your work. What are some of the themes you are exploring these days?
I have an affinity for paint, color, stripes, flavor and the arrangement of these ingredients to create an experience over time. My practice spans a range of media including painting, sculpture, installation, performance and how delight or expectation might someday be considered a medium too.
What are you looking at, reading, or listening to right now that is influencing your work or process?
I have been reading interviews and looking at work by Agnes Martin, Felix Gonzales Torres and thinking a lot about what it means to work intuitively versus systematically. Since working out of Kala, I have been thinking about editioning and multiples and how that could apply to something like cake. Currently in my bag or on my nightstand are Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, 1001 One Minute Stories from 1927 by H.S Chapman, Colours of our Memories by Michel Pastoreau (who also wrote The History of Stripes), and Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. I love to know about people’s daily routines, so reading or listening to interviews fuels me. Krista Tippett’s interview with Yo Yo Ma is a recent favorite.
What does a typical day in the studio/office look like for you?
I don’t have a typical day in the studio, typically. My studio/office looks more like a whirling dervish scenario at the moment. I’ve been doing more site specific installations and traveling to residencies which has allowed me to work in a larger scale and structure my projects around time and relate them to the space.
I am just finishing as a fellow at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, so I have been commuting there to complete an accretive screen print and colorful collaboration with Christine Wong Yap. I make stipe paintings and paint stacks in the garage of a shared home and will often paint a layer of color when I wake up, when I get home from a run, before I go to bed, so they end up being very much a record of what could be a typical daily routine.
What's the best advice someone has given you about your work? The worst?
My main advisor in grad school came in to the studio one day. We were talking about how to talk about the paintings I had been working on. At the time, I was making cakes and bringing them to my painting critiques and he thought it was starting to get confusing, not helping the discussion and making the paintings too saccharine. As he went on about how I should pick one, cake or painting, he made me a sign to wear around my neck for a period of time. It read “No More CAKE”. I went home that night with the sign around my neck and baked as many cakes as I could and then brought them to school the following morning and set up a table in front of the admin office. When all the cakes were gone, the sign went out on the table and that was the end of cakes for me. For a week. I think that was the best/worst advice I’ve been given. It gave me some distance and a chance to “just be a painter” and to realize the thing that was the most interesting to me was not to just make a painting to hang on a wall or to bake a cake that looks like art but what happens when you serve the two simultaneously.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows/events/happenings?
The Kala Fellow exhibition opens July 17th at Kala Art Institute. A solo exhibition that will open at the end of September at the Kenderdine Gallery at the University of Saskatchewan in the city where I grew up. A wall installation will soon be up at Workshop Residence in the Dogpatch --the result of a month-long residency.
What are you most looking forward to at Project 387?
I look forward to the two weeks (a fortnight!) of finding colors in the early mornings and late afternoons, taking the same walks twice. A bonus will be getting to know the other artists in residence around the table at dinner, being inspired by their process, and to hopefully get some feedback on some ideas I am working on involving language around color. I also look forward to what comes after/from these two weeks of focused time working in a new place.