Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leigh Tarentino

Leigh Tarentino is now the Artist in Residence at the Maitland Art Center. On January 7th she gave a talk about her work at the Cottage on Lake Lilly in Maitland. Leigh was the resident artist between December 30th of 2013 and January 17th of 2014. She came to Orlando from her home state of  Rhode Island.

Tarentino creates paintings, works on paper, and digital prints constructed from photographs of the built landscape. She received a BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design.  She is currently an assistant professor at Brown University.

While in residence at the Maitland Art Center, she worked on several new panel paintings from her Memory of Snow series. This series of small-scale paintings depict snowy winter nighttime scenes of yards, houses, and gardens, often illuminated by winter holiday lights on trees and bushes. The work she completed while in residence in January will be included in a solo exhibition in March 2014 at the Falk Gallery at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.

I appreciated the fact that she creates finished works of art on paper. She feels that paper suffers from the stigma of only being used for preparatory sketches for larger works of art on canvas. She wants to change that perception and only works on paper. I appreciate the way she works on a series of paintings at a time. Much of the work she showed depicted fractured urban environments. She takes photos and then assembles the images in the computer, using that image to create the final piece.

She feels that people in cold environments use Christmas lights to add light at a dismal dark time of year. I hope she got out to see that Floridians go wild with Christmas lights probably because they miss the change of seasons. Leigh said, “The time I spent here was refreshing and I am returning home with renewed energy for studio work. I liked the small studio buildings and galleries scattered around a beautiful central garden. I’m planning to do a series about the layout and history of the Art Center as an artist-built community and residence for the exhibition in October.”

Elysia Mann is the new artist in residence between February 3rd and March 17th.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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