“May I splinter away from myself break into whole units and live in each with perfection!”
– Suman Pokhrel
Mindy Solomon is pleased to present “Splintered” a two-person exhibition focused on the dynamic, colorful, space shattering works of Ail Smith and Virginia Leonard; envelope pushing artists with a penchant for explosive use of bright pigment. Ali Smith has long been a proponent of neon. For her current exhibition she appears to embrace it in many of her works. In her artist statement she discusses her journey with painting: “In developing my own personal language of abstraction for the past 20 years, I continue to seek ways to Find invention and liberation in painting. I make large scale, colorful, multi- layered canvases that lure the viewer into a world of complexity and chaos. I make paintings that I hope challenge and engage the viewer directly, as an overall complex viewing experience. My paintings are colorful, fluid, tough and use a very practiced intuition that translates into paintings that have multiple reads and entry points. Each work tends to exist in its own universe with very specific rules and structure, allowing me to push the possibilities within abstraction.”
Virginia Leonard started her career as a painter and later embraced sculpture and the cathartic properties of raku clay. “My work serves as a visual representation of my body, which has become a central focus of my ongoing studio dialogue. The realities of chronic pain and bodily scarring have left me feeling voiceless. Chronic pain has no biological value or language. Through my practice, I find a way to articulate and process these experiences. My work is a visual language that allows me to translate my daily struggles with chronic pain and trauma. The work evokes feelings of revulsion, but ti is also vibrant, dynamic, and truthful. I embrace the organic reality of my body and its fragility, using it as a tool to navigate a constantly evolving world. Rather than striving for a static and idealized version of the human form, my work recognizes the beauty in the imperfections and complexities of the human body. I see my body as a “body of becoming,” constantly changing and growing.’
Leonard’s work drips and drools with succulent color. Visceral and unapologetic, each piece is aptly named for a moment in the artist’s life. Struggling with body image and notions of beauty her work is a voice for every woman who has ever struggled with her self esteem.
Ali Smith and Virginia Leonard tow the artistic line. Clustered in their respective studios- closed off from the noise of the “market’ and focused on their own stories. Deep, rich, metaphorical and authentic “Splintered” is a way forward in a chaotic world.
About the Artists
Ali Smith, born 1976, lives and works in Long Beach, CA. Since earning her MFA in Drawing and Painting at California State University, Long Beach in 2003, Smith has exhibited her work widely. Known for her large scale, multi-layered canvases, she has had numerous solo exhibitions in the US, including at Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles, Freight and Volume Gallery in New York City, as well as a recent collaborative exhibition at Vanderbilt University with musical composer Michael Alec Rose in 2020. Included in the article on “45 painters under 45” by Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times, Smith has work in numerous private collections in the United States and abroad, and has been reviewed in the LA Times, the Boston Globe, Art Us, artillery, Art Week, Timeout New York, Beautiful Decay, and the OC Weekly, among others. Upcoming shows include a large-scale painting in a group show at the Long Beach Museum of Art and a solo show at Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, FL.
Virginia Leonard lives and works in Aotearoa. She graduated with a MFA in painting and moved to ceramics in 2013. She is represented in the US, Europe, Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand. Virginia is in public collections in Europe the US, Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand. When Virginia was twenty she was in a serious road accident and her work is a daily dialogue that she has with her body, chronic pain and bodily scarring.
Her studio practice gives her body a voice. Recent exhibitions include: Canberra Art Biennial, Australia. Hastings City Art Gallery, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Sow and Tailor, USA. Design Miami, Shanghai, Side Gallery. Design Miami, USA, Mindy Solomon Gallery.