Leah Piepgras: Artist Statement

Jul 30, 2014 4:17PM

On a conceptual level, my work is based on a keen interest in the workings of the body and mind. On a very basic level I am just making art related to my life as a person navigating dishes, laundry, children, marriage, spirituality, and sex.

The act of creating is about looking for truths, not knowing the answers along the way.

In my paintings I think of thoughts as clouds and mists, and how, before you can grasp a full idea, they float away and all you are left with is a feeling, an intention. I don't think of these thoughts as lost though. I think of them in a constant state of visual change, with only the pithy truth of the idea remaining as the actual, physical, constant.

I think of the body in the same way, in a constant state of becoming, with shifts so subtle that you might always feel the same and, only by looking back, do you see the transformation. Really, the feeling of sameness is truth, innate knowledge.

The conceptual basis of the objects I make is the utilitarian usage of the pieces. These pieces are visualizations of the form and function of the body while also being functional. The user’s interaction is a daily life performance.

Several years ago I read a rant by Roberta Smith (New York Times, December 23, 2007) about the use of the word “practice” in describing what artists do. I carry the article around in my purse still. What she said was that art is never a practice. Artists are never practicing for a newer, better piece of work. Every piece should be made in real life, in real time. Life is never a practice for something else. It is messy and imperfect and wonderful because of it. It is in those moments of uncertainty that beauty unfolds and reveals itself. There is no formula for perfection. I try and make work in this way, take risks and not settle for good enough or a formula. I try also to really see at all times and hold on to the beautiful things that happen.

––Leah Piepgras