Alfred Leslie, ‘Four Signs, Tulsa, Oklahoma (from 100 Views Along the Road)’, 1981-1983, Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Painted in the 1980s, Alfred Leslie’s 100 Views Along the Road is a series of atmospheric grisailles watercolors - scenes of the American landscape as viewed while driving. Leslie has termed them 'notans', a reference to the Japanese concept of our response to the “certain beauty of just so much white to just so much black.” The images are as much impressionistic as they are fictionalized. As Leslie’s work often makes use of artifice, this project centers on the landscape as myth; though they appear systematic, truthful, and even photographic, they are in fact perceptual.

About Alfred Leslie

The ever-versatile Alfred Leslie has been on the frontlines of many major movements in postwar American art. Early in his career, Leslie ran with the Abstract Expressionists in New York, producing immense, lush abstractions and counting Barnett Newman, Franz Kline, and critic Clement Greenberg among his close associates. From there, Leslie would experiment radically, making silkscreen boxes years before Andy Warhol’s emergence and painting hyper-realistic figurative scenes that would show alongside Chuck Close and Philip Pearlstein. “I don't think he's gotten his due,” Whitney curator Barbara Haskell once said. “I think he did fall between the cracks chronologically…I think it was difficult for people to understand his career as one unit.” Leslie was also at the forefront of experimental film, collaborating with Robert Frank to make Pull My Daisy (1959), a tribute to the Beat generation featuring Richard Bellamy, Allen Ginsberg, Alice Neel, and Larry Rivers.

American, b. 1927, Bronx, New York