ARTIST STATEMENT: A LITTLE LONGER STORY.....

Time spent in the hospital as a child led to my early connection to fibers.

As a baby, I had a favored blanket; the only way I could fall asleep was by working my fingers along the satin trim edging from one end to the other. During ages 2-4 while I was in and out of the hospital for medical complications and deafness, my mother made wonderful sewn and knit clothes for my Barbie and Ken which she would surprise me with on her visits to me during my hospital stays. One particular dress, made of a fiery red satin and white lace, enticed a growing tactile infatuation. Finger painting in the hospital art room -- large scuttling clouds and blowing treetops seen through the big picture window  -- was my solace as I reveled in the squishy paint between my fingers. Touch was there when humans were not.

Barbie dress circa 1963 Mom made.JPG

Saturdays were spent with Dad at his electrical shop from age 5 on. Wires, bolts and bits of metal became diamond tiaras and bracelets with which to adorn myself as I played. I visited the other shops in the construction company enclave where my Dad's business was housed -- plumbing, pipe fitting and glass shops became my source for supplies to make tables and sculptures -- and the men who owned them my lunch buddies at the local diner. An electrical spool cable table and stools my Dad set up inside an enclosure of weeping willow branches in our home back yard became the perfect setting to host tea parties for my dolls and teddy bears, with no other sound but the rustling whish the leaves made in light wind as I played alone for hours. A trip to Disneyland in California at age 5 -- my very first real vacation after all of my childhood illnesses, and the ride, "It's A Small World" -- made a huge impact on me and most certainly inspired the fantastical worlds I now create!

I grew up in Canada. Mine was a childhood made up of crystallized lakes to skate on, quiet forests to walk in, sluggish creeks to lazily swim in, and the violent elements of cold and hot to survive.

At age 15, while attending Interlochen Arts Academy private boarding school in Michigan for piano and dance I developed thyroid complications from Mononucleosis, which caused weight gain and resulted in getting kicked out of the dance department until I lost some of the weight. A friend suggested I take weaving to temporarily replace dance. I fell in love with fibers and immediately switched my major to art. It seems predestined.

Art chose me.

Gone now is that peace I felt while cocooned within that weeping willow tree of my childhood; the frenetic pace of city life, the unavoidable hyper-speed influx technology has infiltrated into most facets of daily life, and the inhumane pace humans work at and live in, has chipped away at our time and ability to notice nature and the many small but important moments. 


Scan.jpeg

Inner reflection, and the quest for true connection, has been buried in hype, and in hyper-activity. We are left with empty idealizations of what it means to be “human” connected to earth and wind. During that peaceful childhood I lived in it seems I noticed everything, and it is hard to do that today. So, it is art I come back to, to notice, to capture, to recreate that feeling on a daily basis. 

In 1989 I was paralyzed in a car wreck; the months of debilitating pain I spent prior to reconstructive surgery, and the joy I felt upon regaining mobility afterward, cemented in me the realization that life is short and meant to be lived with passion and purpose. Getting swept down a mountain in Indonesia a few years later in a mudslide during a torrential rainstorm in 1993 and another horrific car crash in September, 2015 furthered my belief that, like a cat, I have used up more than a few of my lives, so might as well live any left to their fullest! In seeking a positive existence over the years I took to making up my own world, a Utopia influenced by the wonder of those childhood memories of being enveloped in nature, in color, cuddled by the tactile, enveloped in safe quiet.

Through the years of trying to return to those early years of wonder, I took moments to look closely at items usually ignored: a small stone kicked aside while walking, a bit of broken glass frosted by its movement in water or sand, a fossil, a shard of twisted metal, a miniscule shell, a cell, a swirl of moss on a beach, a shy smile, wrinkled hands, folds of cloth. I wanted to transform those simple, ordinary things into the extraordinary in order to give greater significance to them. Inspired by those bits, I produced 2D and 3D art forms and installation works that were not meant to realistically “reproduce” organic structures of the natural world and magnify them but merely intimate them; using the power of scale--from tiny to gargantuan—I strove to portray an essence I saw in each object. I also strove to connect with the viewer in a visceral, tactile manner, to ask that they share just a little bit of their time to live in my world.

While still working on those types of pieces recently -- fantastical creatures, amoebic forms and places to hide in -- I also decided to cause forced, physical, shared artistic interaction between the viewer and I. In my interactive body of work viewers can “rearrange” components thereby creating their own personal, alternative view, one that encourages human interaction with whomever happens to be around at that same moment in time, and another new view emerges, as a result. We are co-creators.

Recently, I have begun working in the exciting area of 3D printing. This technology has opened up a huge creative world of discovery. Who knows where it will go....

but the journey is wonderful!

EDUCATION

2007      Master of Fine Arts in Fibers, The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

1993       Bachelor of Education in Art, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

1982       Bachelor of Fine Art in Fibers, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

SELECTED TEACHING

Present     Self-Employed Art Educator: in studio workshops and classes

                  Travel-to-Teach Art Educator: arts programs, retreats, arts centers, universities

                  Art Educator, Binders Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia: classes and workshops

2008-13     Director/Teacher (Art), GASP Program, The Galloway School, Atlanta, Georgia

2007-12     Teacher (Art), Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia

2007-09     Teaching Artist, The High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia

2004-05     Teaching Assistant in Fibers, The University of North Texas School of Visual Art, Denton, TX.

                      Teaching Assistant- Design 1,The University of North Texas School of Visual Art, Denton, TX.

2002-04      Director/Teacher, Art & Beyond School of Art for Children and Adults, Coppell, Texas

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2017      Artist Spotlight: Leisa Rich, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, Louisiana

2016      grownupland, Stanley Beaman Sears Gallery 180, Atlanta, Georgia

              Techstiles, Pop up, solo exhibition curated by Danielle Carlson, Atlanta, Georgia

2010      Inconsistencies: Stitching Past to Present, Fine Arts Blount Space, Maryville, Tennessee

2009      Beauty From the Beast, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

2007      (in)CONSEQUENTIAL, Cora Stafford Gallery, The University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

2001      Under the Surface, Focus Gallery, Irving Arts Center, Irving, Texas

1984    Contradictions, Brights Grove Gallery, Brights Grove, Ontario, Canada

SELECTED TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2016      Wash & Wax: A Collaboration, The Irving Arts Center, Focus Gallery, Irving, Texas

              Wash & Wax: A Collaboration, Jacksonville State U., Hammond Gallery, Jacksonville, Georgia

2015      Wash & Wax: A Collaboration, Abernathy Arts Center Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

2012      Connecting the Dots, Collaboration with Terri Dilling. Sponsors: The Center For Chemical      

              Evolution and NASA, Spruill Art Center Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

2005      beyond COLOR, with Laura Jennings, University of North Texas Union Gallery, Denton, Texas

 2012     Connecting the Dots, Collaboration with Terri Dilling. Sponsors: The Center For Chemical      

               Evolution and NASA, Spruill Art Center Gallery, Atlanta, GA

2010      Inconsistencies: Stitching Past to Present, Solo, Fine Arts Blount Space, Maryville, Tennessee

2009      Beauty From the Beast, Solo, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

2007      (in)CONSEQUENTIAL, Solo, Cora Stafford Gallery, Denton, Texas

2005      beyond COLOR, with Laura Jennings, University of North Texas Union Gallery, Denton, Texas

2001      Under the Surface, Solo, Focus Gallery, Irving Arts Center, Irving, Texas     

SELECTED GROUP/INVITATIONAL/JURIED EXHIBITIONS

2016      Arising: Yoko Ono Project, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland

              Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series finalist, Mason Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia

              Multiplicities, Baylor University Martin Museum of Art, Wacom Texas

              World of Threads Int’l Biennial, Queen Elizabeth Cultural Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

              Materials: Hard & Soft, Patterson-Appleton Arts Center, Denton, Texas

              First LaGrange Southeast Regional, LaGrange Art Museum, LaGrange, Georgia

              The Motherload Project, Hannah Maclure Centre, Dundee, Scotland

2015      Giving Attention, Ernest G. Welch Gallery, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

              (In)Organic, Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

              Flight Patterns, Hartsfield Jackson ATL Airport, concourse T-north, Atlanta, Georgia

              Flight Patterns, Ernest B. Welch Gallery, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

              Body & Mind, Sulfur Studios, Savannah, Georgia

              The Art of Nature, The Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Atlanta, Georgia

              Touched, The Ground Floor Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee

              The Motherload Project, curators Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio, Dallas Museum of Art,

              Dallas, Texas and on-line http://www.themotherload.org/

2014      Mysterious Worlds, Further Polycontemporary Gallery, Tula Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia

              Flight Patterns, Hartsfield Jackson ATL Airport, concourse T-north, through April 2015

              World of Threads International, various locations, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

              (In)Organic, Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

              New Fibers, Eastern Michigan University Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan

              Materials: Hard & Soft, Greater Denton Arts Council, Meadows Gallery, Denton, Texas

              Triage, Fuse Art Center, C4, Atlanta, GA

              Fiber Options, Maryland Federation of Art Gallery, Annapolis, Maryland

              The Motherload Project, curators Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio, Dallas Museum of Art,

              Dallas, Texas and on-line http://www.themotherload.org/

2013      Object Object!, Helmuth Projects, San Diego, California

              UrbanFronts, AIA- ATL Institute of Architects, installation with Sixfold Collective, Atlanta, Georgia

              Connecting Threads, LAX airport, Los Angeles, California

              National Fiber Directions 2013, Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, Kansas

              Fantastic Fibers 2013, Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, Kentucky

              The Motherload Project, curators Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio, Prescott College Art

              Gallery, Prescott, Arizona and on-line http://www.themotherload.org/

              Teapots! 7th Invitational, Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

              Georgia Artists Selecting Georgia Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, Georgia

2012      All Mixed Up, dk Gallery, Marietta, Georgia

              Fibers, Wonderroot Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

              New Fibers ’12, Eastern Michigan University Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan

              de rerum natura, World of Threads Exhibition, Oakville/Toronto, Ontario, Canada

              Surface and Structure, Beep Beep Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

              Talent Loves Company, Barbara Archer Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

              Fibers, Madison Morgan Cultural Center, Madison, GA

              Fiberart International, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2011      LAIR, Sixfold Collective, Abernathy Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia

              Volusia Wrapped in Fiber, Gateway Center for the Arts, DeBary, Florida

              Little Things Mean A Lot, Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

              Collective Thread, The University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Missouri

              Fiberart International, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2010      Fiberart International, travelling: Rochester, New York, San Francisco, California

              The Sculpted Wall, The Terminus Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

2009      National Fiber Directions Exhibition 2009, Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, Kansas

              Quilt National 2009, The Dairy Barn, Athens, Ohio- touring through 2011

              Spotlight 2009, American Craft Council Exhibition, Kennesaw, Georgia  

2008      AAC Annual National Juried Exhibition, AAC Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

              Led By Thread, Target Gallery- Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, Virginia

              Mining the Surface: New Sensibilities in Art Textiles, Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, G

SELECTED NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS

2013-16       The Motherload Project, curators Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio (above)

2016            World of Threads Int’l Biennial, various locations, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2014            World of Threads Int’l Biennial, various locations, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2010-12      Fiberart International, Venue One-Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

                                                          Venue Two-Memorial Art Center, Rochester, NY

2012            World of Threads International, various locations, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2010            Sum of the Parts, Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum, Logan, Kansas

2009            Sum of the Parts, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, Louisiana

2008            Sum of the Parts, Museum of Texas Tech, Lubbock, Texas

                    Sum of the Parts, J. Wayne Stark Gallery, College Station, Texas

2002- 05     Masterpieces: A Voyage of Self Discovery, Husqvarna Viking Gallery of Quilt Art traveling 

                    exhibition venues:

                               International Quilt Market, Houston, Texas 2002

                                   International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas 2002

                                   Spring Quilt Festival, Chicago, Illinois, 2003

                                   International Quilt market, Portland, Oregon, 2003

                                   Craft and Quilt Fair, Melbourne,VIC, Australia 2004

                                   Craft and Quilt Fair, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2004

                                   Craft and Quilt Fair, Perth, WA, Australia 2004

                                   Craft and Quilt Fair, Launceston, TAS, Australia 2004

                                   Senior Expo, Sydney, NSW, Australia 2004

                                   Husquvarna Fabric Museum, Sweden 2005

                                   Quilt Show, France 2005

CURATORIAL EXHIBITIONS

2015      Invisible:visAble, Abernathy Arts Center Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia. 16 international artists who face invisible disabilities, including Leisa Rich, exhibited work produced from their experiences dealing with these challenges, in a provocative and insightful exhibition of video, painting, fiber, kinetic sculpture, and more.

RECENT AWARDS

2014      Honorable Mention, Georgia Artists: A Juried Exhibit, Abernathy Arts Center, Atlanta, GA

2013      Honorable Mention, Georgia Artists: A Juried Exhibit, Abernathy Arts Center, Atlanta, GA

              Award of Excellence, Surface Design Association, Fabricate Exhibition, San Antonia, TX

2008      Second Place Award, Atlanta Artist Center National Juried Exhibition, Atlanta, GA

2007      Distinguished Jury Award, Earth Matters,The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX            

              Juror’s Award, Materials: Hard and Soft Exhibition, The Meadows Gallery, Denton, TX

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS, REVIEWS & FEATURES- T.V, RADIO, INTERNET

2016:     Textile Nature, Anne Kelly, p. 80

              Tracy & Tom WTFFF?! Leisa Rich Feature Podcast. Episode 275

              https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wtfff-!!-3d-printing-podcast/id986120629

2015:     3D Mixed Media Textile Art, Joe and Sam Pitcher, TextileArtist.org

              Review: Artists grapple… http://www.artsatl.com/2015/11/invisible-visable-abernathy

2014:     Textile Art Around the World, Ellen Bakker, p. 160

2013:     Plastics in Fiber: Creative Friend or Environmental Foe? Fiber Art Now Summer ‘13 (author)

              Mastering the Art of Embroidery, Chronicle Books, p. 249-250

              Morgan Contemporary Glass’ teapots exhibit pours on the creativity: Review-Pittsburgh Tribune

              http://triblive.com/aande/museums/4018396-74/teapot-glass-says#axzz2VjQzFdnr

              Inspiration: Leisa Rich, Stitches magazine, p. 43

              Repetition and Ritual at Hudgens Center, Atlanta, Georgia, by Leisa Rich (author)

              http://burnaway.org/2013/05/review-repetition-and-ritual-at-hudgens-center/

2012:     Contemporary Sculptors: 84 International Sculptors, Schiffer, p. 170-171

              World of Threads, Leisa Rich, Interview 79

              http://www.worldofthreadsfestival.com/artist_interviews/079_leisa_rich_12.html

              The Best of America Sculpture, Kennedy Publishing

2011:     Noplaceness: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape, Atlanta Art Now

              The Studio Quilt, No.6: State of the Art, Sandra Sider

2010:     Hand to Hand: 195 Artists Witness the Iraq War, Cecelia Kane, Blurb Publishing, p. 281 & 327

              Unique Fiber Art… http://artofday.com/wordpress/?tag=leisa-rich

              Sweet Station Leisa Rich http://sweet-station.com/blog/2010/06/leisa-rich/

              Threads of Reconnection  http://artslammagazine.com/?p=6994

2009:     Quilt National 2009, Lark Books, p.49

              Artist Leisa Rich Gets to the Root of the Problem, Cinque Hicks

              http://clatl.com/atlanta/artist-leisa-rich-gets-to-the-root-of-the-problem/Content?oid=1281230

2008:     Best of America Sculpture Artists and Artisans, Volume 1, Kennedy Publishing, p.85

              ‘Mining’ Exhibition Diverse and Deep, AJC, H10, Atlanta, Georgia

              Visual Arts review, Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 28, 2008, section H10

2006/07 In Context, Featured Artist, PBS Televised Interview, Dutch Rall, Producer

2005      Out of Site, www.gillensarmy.com/outofsite

2002      Alliance for American Quilts Association, Quilters S.O.S. Save Our Stories, Oral history

              Interview, http://www.centerforthequilt.org/qso

COLLECTIONS

Emory Healthcare, Atlanta, Georgia

The Dallas Museum of Art- permanent, interactive installation, installed November 2011

The Kamm Teapot Foundation, 2012 and 2013 permanent collection

The University of North Texas

The University of Texas- Pan American                

*Private collections. List available upon request.

Brief BIO

Leisa Rich is an experimental artist working with an array of new fibers, detritus and mixed media in 2D, sculptural, installation and 3D printing. Rich pulls from many art and fiber techniques but it is Free Motion stitching, sewing, hand embroidery and 3D printing that are employed most often in her works. She exhibits internationally and nationally, has been featured on the PBS artist special inCONTEXT, in several books: 3D Mixed Media Textile ArtTextile Art Around the World; Mastering the Art of Embroidery; The Best of America Sculpture; NoPlaceness: Art in A Post-Urban Landscape; Modern Sculpture; The Studio Quilt No. 6: State of the Art; Hand to Hand; Quilt National 2009; The Best of America Sculpture Artists and Artisans and in magazines, newspapers, blogs and televised interviews. She holds Master of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts & Bachelor of Education in Art degrees and teaches in colleges, arts centers, educational institutions, studio, and travels to teach. Previous experience includes international fashion designer, set design, wearable art business and art school director. Leisa Rich has pieces in the collections of  Delta Airlines, Emory Healthcare, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Kamm Teapot Foundation, The University of North Texas, The University of Texas- Pan American and in private collections. http://www.monaleisa.com