Leslie Allen: Cadenza

July 2 - July 31, 2013

Reception for the artist: Friday, July 12, 6-8pm

Leslie Allen at Seager Gray Gallery_My Sausalito II
Setting fire to something can sometimes be a wonderfully creative act, provided that the fire continues on.
Charles Baxter, (writing on David Byrne / Talking Heads “Burning Down the House”)

Born in Alamogordo, NM and raised in El Paso, TX, Leslie Allen grew up in the scorching high desert and relief from the burning heat was found in excursions to the nearest pool or field trips to distant lakes. From early on she has had a fascination with fire and water. She has said that she had fantasies at an early age of setting fires for the thrill of extinguishing them. This speaks to a longing for intensely felt experience, a physical interaction with her world that she finds in painting, where an artist can be immersed in the medium. The title for the exhibition, Cadenza refers to a portion of a concerto in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time. The Cadenza is reserved for accomplished soloists who can be relied upon to improvise without losing the tone of the piece, often providing a showcase for their virtuosic talent.

Nearly 30 years ago, Allen leased her first studio in Sausalito overlooking the water. She had come to Northern California to raise her young daughter and brought with her a fierce determination and a work ethic that would not be suppressed. “It is true that I seem to paint as though my feet are on fire,” she says, “mostly because I have no idea when I approach a canvas what’s going to happen or how I will face the challenge of blankness or marks already there, and also because my available time to paint is too limited.” Her exhibition, Cadenza celebrates these thirty years with a body of work that is a triumph of classical modernism, channeling with new vitality the spirit of her greatest influences, Richard Diebenkorn and Henri Matisse.