Monday, May 18, 2009

Art Space Talk: Leah Tomaino (Part 1)

Leah Tomaino states that her work is grounded in her soul. She explains that she is taken aback by the beauty and intangible qualities of natural flora: the various textures; the amazing flowers and fruits and foliage; and most of all, the spectacular rejuvenation after what appears to be a most definite death in the bleakness of a cold, dark winter.

Furthermore, she states that in our largely urban society, the ability to appreciate our natural surroundings has become dulled-the ability to see the wonder in a tree, the magic and the mystery in a flower, the indescribable peace and contentment that can fill one’s heart. She says, “I try to show this to the viewer as my work is a surreal reminder of the peaceful, centered energy of the miraculous, natural living world which surrounds us.”

Tomaino was recently selected for representation at the NYAXE Gallery in Palo Alto, CA. NYAXE Gallery is a brick & mortar gallery that is managed by Catherine McCormack-Skiba, founder of The gallery serves as a bridge between the physical and online art world.

Recycled Paper Collages: Blooming Cherry by Leah Tomaino

Brian Sherwin: Leah, you were selected for representation at the NYAXE Gallery in Palo Alto, CA. As you know, NYAXE Gallery is operated by the founders of and and serves as a way to bridge the online and physical art world. Why did you decide to submit your work for consideration?

Leah Tomaino: I submitted my work to be reviewed because I believe that it is important to always be involved in a couple of good competitions because they offer different valuable opportunities. The NYAXE Gallery competition seemed to me to be a great competition because of the potential press coverage that the winners could receive. In addition I have been a member of for quite a long time and have found the site to be user friendly as well as having integrity.

Recycled Paper Collages: Tyler by Leah Tomaino

BS: You have stated that your work is a surreal reminder of natural world that surrounds us. You are concerned that the day-to-day life of urban society has dulled our perception and appreciation of nature. Can you go into further detail about that and how you strive to, in a sense, wake people up to their surroundings within your art?

LT: I find everything about nature to be fascinating. The color that surrounds us especially thrills me. For example, as I drove up to New England last Friday, I was so inspired by all the various different budding Spring greens that I found the highway to be surrounded by. There were yellow greens, emerald greens, olive greens, dark greens, white greens, hunter greens, hooker greens, sap greens…they just went on and on…and they were surrounded by beautiful hues of browns and purples that peeked through from the surrounding trees that had not yet budded.
The highway view was actually delicious! In my art I try to make the viewer be aware of just how beautiful the natural world is in terms of these naturally occurring popping colors. I think that I also wake people up when they realize that they are looking at recycled brown grocery bags!

Recycled Paper Collages: Looking Up by Leah Tomaino

BS: On a philosophical or spiritual level one could suggest that your work explores the idea of life after death-- or the concept that there is something more to life than just living. Can you go into further detail about that and how it is conveyed within your work?

LT: I am very interested in the possibilities of life after death. I love to work with trees as subject matter because they are a great visual symbol of death in the winter and life in the spring. Also, I find that there really is more to life than what we can see. I often choose to paint the roots of the trees as well as what we see above the ground to represent this.

This is Part 1 of my interview with Leah Tomaino. To read Part 2 click, HERE

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
Myartspace Blog on Twitter

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