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Brisbane artist Leigh Schoenheimer conducts a contemporary art practice, working as a painter and sculptor. Her work is held in public and private collections throughout Australia and is the subject of an extensive case study in the current Senior Visual Art textbook for QLD. ( ‘Creative Inquiry’ - Cambridge University Press, 2019. Link here.)
Schoenheimer's work is regularly short listed in national art prizes for both painting and sculpture and she has been the recipient of a number of art prizes and commendations. In 2022 Schoenheimer undertook an artist’s residency at the Nancy Fairfax Studio, Tweed Regional Gallery, NSW.
In 2020 - 2021, with the addition of several new works and a new, streamlined curation, Schoenheimer’s solo exhibition Iterate I Elaborate toured Queensland's regional galleries, courtesy of Flying Arts Alliance.
Iterate I Elaborate was first presented in March 2018 at Onespace Gallery. The third of a trifecta of solo exhibitions, two prior shows were held at the Redland Art Gallery (Perceive / Conceive) 2017 and the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, (Perceive / Conceive (Expanded)) 2018. These three, connected exhibitions included both 2D paintings and 3D objects in scenarios which created a dialogue between seeing and knowing a subject – underpinning her broad investigation into perception. Ways of Seeing/Ways of Knowing at Percolator Gallery, 2016 saw the first showing of a suite of Schoenheimer’s multi-panelled paintings and assemblages, for which she is now best known.
When people ask me what type of pictures I paint, I answer "still life paintings" - but that's just where my works begin. More than straight-forward descriptions, my still life paintings become an entry point to the expression of ideas. Various concepts are elaborated upon through the use of an 'expanded' format in which I use multiple panels presented as triptychs or diptychs.
In the series ‘Ways of Seeing / Ways of Knowing’, these expanded still life paintings become a means of setting up conversations between representation and interpretation. The works journey from realism through abstraction into the purely conceptual realm, establishing connections between many different modes of visual expression and referencing the imagery and styles of many 20th century artists who re-wrote the rulebook on image making.
A recent body of work, ‘The Meaning of (Still) Life’, continues this ongoing exploration of perception (seeing) and conception (knowing) by juxtaposing realistic still-life images with generic, clip-art equivalences appropriated from Google-searches. In many of the works in this series, the still life is further elaborated upon through the addition of text panels, where multiple meanings provide another interpretive layer to the reading of the work.
Environmental themes have been a recurring preoccupation of my art practice for the past 22 years. Originally seen in the ‘Countdown’ works of the 2000’s and the ‘Lost Eden’ series of the 1990’s, they have again found expression in ‘The Meaning of (Still) Life' works. This time around, my anxieties about environmental issues are married with my ongoing interrogation of perception. ‘The Meaning of (Still) Life: An Unnatural History’ and ‘Tweed Weeds’ are the two most recent environmentally themed bodies of work.
In contrast to the complex ideas underpinning my paintings, the assemblages I construct are lively abstractions made of painted, timber offcuts and found objects. Taking my lead from the aesthetics of Modernism, these works are the result of an exhaustive process of compositional trial and error, where the element of chance is always present.
In the ‘Construction’ and ‘Wall Construction’ series of works, (c. 2015 – 2020) my paintings and sculptures unite in a collision of colour and conceptual concerns.
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