DescriptionFROM THE ESTATE OF DR. EDMUND P. PILLSBURY
LESLIE WAYNE (American, b. 1953)
Breaking & Entering (Memories Are Buried in the Body, III), 2000
Oil on wood
12 x 14 x 2-1/4 inches (30.5 x 35.6 x 5.7 cm)
Signed with initials, titled and dated on the reverse
Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, January 2002
As a young artist Leslie Wayne gravitated toward landscape and oil painting in their traditional styles. She studied painting at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and sculpture at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. The move to New York in the early 1980s set her on a course that led to her break with strictly observational painting. In the past, "I knew what I wanted the paintings to look like before I even started painting them," Wayne said. "There was no challenge in the process itself. Eventually, I gave myself permission to fail and I really began experimenting."
In time, she developed the intuitive, abstract style that has become her signature. For her, landscape painting is a physical process. She pushes, she pulls, she slices, she scrapes and she scores the paint, all without benefit of a brush. The result is a dynamic collection of color saturated, dimensional oil paintings. "I think of my paintings more as visual manifestations of physical forces," the artist has stated, "rather than images of landscapes, which are meant to inspire a sensation that is analogous to being in the natural world. By eliminating traditional narrative as a mediator, I can capture the compression of time and history through abstraction and metaphor."
When starting a painting, Wayne doesn't begin with a particular subject in mind. Instead, she lets the material lead the way. What's not immediately apparent is that she doesn't sculpt her forms first and paint them later. Instead, the color and form are one.
"The paint is the color, which is the form, which I manipulate all at once," she said. Wayne achieves her effect using a retractable blade and spackling trowels. With these tools, she drags thin layers of paint, building one on top of another, allowing each to dry. She then manipulates the material - the top layer of color having dried while the layers beneath are still malleable - and cuts into the surface with the blade, pushing the paint with the trowel and manipulating it into its ultimate three-dimensional form. The result is work that evokes a strong response in its viewers.
"I want people to be viscerally moved when they look at my work. The intellectual stuff can come afterwards," Wayne said. "I think the work is really successful if it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up." (Statements derive from an interview with Jo Lord published in Richmond Times Dispatch, May 8, 2011)
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