SARAH STEINBERG In the Woods
Steinberg’s oil paintings plumb the depths of home, memory and imagination. Steinberg explains it simply: “... It concerns a cottage in the woods, on a lake that I used to call home.” That home happens to be a special summer place about three hours north of Toronto, Canada. For Steinberg, that particular landscape is a continual source of inspiration. However, her paintings venture far beyond her memories of any particular place; they epitomize nostalgia as a complex emotion. Sentimentality is unique to each of us; it is not necessarily based on physical or factual places, or events. Hence, the house in Steinberg’s paintings is a luminous apparition that lingers throughout much of her work. Other pieces boast vibrant trees stretching upwards, with colors both light and dark, as if somehow harboring both joy and secrets. And still other canvases only display the outlines of the house – it’s as if the artist is revealing something that, though no longer there, is still deeply felt; it is her prism.
Brian Leach is an individualist: his visual language and his life are the product of what cannot be taught in the classroom. Leach had a tumultuous young adulthood after college, often finding himself at odds with the law. He leads a very different lifestyle now, but his distrust of the establishment and instinct to thwart prescribed structure continues in his work. In many works, calligraphic script weaves in and out of Leach’s imagery, and reveals a quirky narrative, urgent impulses or forlorn musings. Reptilian legs wind around human body parts. Leach uses pencil and India ink in a variety of colors, and these drawings boast intensive line work. Leach is devoted to tattoo art, and is inspired by traditional Japanese and Western tattoos. Lions and tigers à la Sailor Jerry (the renowned tattoo artist and a major influence) stare into rendered stairs that lead nowhere, and tessellations vanish into infinity.