My work can be described as a cross between painting and assemblage, or paintings that incorporate actual objects and ephemera. I like the tactile quality that it brings to my work, and the history or meaning of these objects compliment the painted or mixed media surfaces.
I usually build the substrates before incorporating the objects, after which the painting process begins. There is interplay between depth and surface, and sometimes between abstract and representational. I invite the viewer to think about what is hidden beneath surface appearances, and what is illusion.
Sometimes this is in a large-scale format to encompass the viewer more fully.
Lately I’ve started making pure assemblages, in addition to the combination painting/assemblages. I love to preserve bits of history, to show the beauty of the craftsmanship and the design sensibilities of these old objects.
History, transformation, and throwaway culture are themes that I gravitate towards, along with social and political injustice. I tend to use some unconventional materials, including refuse, packaging, and resin. This allows me to recycle instead of discarding, and I want to convey the value of doing so.
I grew up surrounded by traditional Japanese woodblock prints and Pre-Columbian sculptures, and this has been a major influence in my aesthetic sensibility, along with artists such as Diebenkorn, Rauschenberg, and Lee Bontecou. In developing my visual language, I am constantly experimenting with different materials and techniques to support the subject matter.
Leah Knecht, 2017