Oil on canvas
26 x 13 1/2 in (66.04 x 34.29 cm)
Image courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings, Los Angeles and New York
Leidy Churchman (b. 1979, Pennsylvania) lives and works in Maine and New York. Churchman casts painting into a performative role in arresting parts of the stream of images and symbols encountered in daily life. This painting featuring three grimacing goblin-creatures and its title, “Smize”, is a word model-TV personality Tyra Banks coined for “smiling with the eyes” when getting one’s photo taken.
Churchman often includes readymade images in his work (see, e.g., a painting based on a real estate developer’s digital rendering). Churchman discusses how his painting practice interacts with our contemporary image environment:
I can’t believe how many images I’ve seen. We’re so engulfed in screens that I can’t remember what it was like when you had to go to the library to find secret things. I’m not alone picking imagery; I’m in a scrolling world. Scrolling gives me an idea of what’s out there and what people are doing right now. We have this stuff all around us and everything is so close. If I choose an image and use it to make a painting, people already know that image or something like it and have a relationship with it. We can then study the image together. You’ve seen it but you might not have really been able to get closer, because the devices we use separate our bodies from all these pictures.
Reena Spaulings Fine Art
“Leidy Churchman: For The Moon There Is The Cloud,” Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Los Angeles, 11 November 2018 – 12 January 2019
Leidy Churchman at Matthew Marks Gallery
Leidy Churchman in the Whitney Museum of American Art collection
Osman Can Yerebakan, “An Artist Whose Buddhist and Painting Practices Converge,” March 5, 2020