Was, Is, Will Be – Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series

Was, Is, Will Be is Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series, broadcasting remotely throughout the month of May, 2020, and during the stay-at-home/safer-at-home orders of Governor Polis and Mayor Hancock.

Artists were provided an honorarium to create a work of pre-recorded video or prepare a performance for live streaming.

As the various works are premiered on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, they will be added to this gallery.

Featured Artists and Broadcast Dates:

Phil Cordelli and Sueyeun Jeliette Lee – TEDDYSNORKEL – May 7th

Brenton Weyi – A Verse for Humanity – Creative Words of Connection and Introspection – May 8th

Joshua Ware – DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! – May 14th

Michael John McKee – Exercising – May 15th

Sarah Touslee and Tyson Bennet – Wait Here – May 21st

Tobias Fike and Matthew Harris – Confined – May 28th

Fike & Harris – 78,267 ft Apart

Tobias Fike and Matthew Harris bring us the fifth performance in Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series, reuniting again, after their wildly successful “Pop” performance from our first series in 2018.

Their video, “78,267 ft Apart” will be broadcast via Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.

To make donations or send tips to the artists you can use Venmo: @Tobias-Fike

Statement: Fike and Harris connect through Zoom, and it isn’t always pretty.

Bio:

Collaborating since 2010, Tobias Fike and Matthew Harris have dragged each other across the desert, wrestled each other’s shadows, and tried to catch glass objects while blindfolded. Their work addresses the everyday difficulties of human relationships, often using humor and irony to highlight the real struggles involved in negotiating difficult situations. They have exhibited widely, including at the Fonlad Digital Arts Festival (Coimbra, Portugal), the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (Boulder, CO), and the David B. Smith Gallery (Denver,CO). In 2013, they performed live for the opening of Denver’s Biennial of the Americas First Draft exhibition where they tested the collision of beach balls at high speeds.

Their performance video, “Food Fight” is in the Kadist Art Foundations, Video Americas collection and was recently shown in Shanghai, China as part of that collection.

TEDDYSNORKEL – Phil Cordelli and Sueyeun Juliette Lee

Artist Statement – We will manifest and consume messages from other forms of life here on earth to prepare our bodies as channels to the future.

Artist Bios – Phil Cordelli is a poet and farmer just outside the city of Denver.

Sueyeun Juliette Lee grew up three miles from the CIA. Find her at silentbroadcast.com

To make donations to the artists you can send $ via Venmo: @sjuliettelee

A Verse for Humanity: Creative Words of Connection and Introspection – Brenton Weyi

In this video, Brenton shares some poetry, stories, a song from his musical, and ends with improvised verse informed by the audience. Central to all his performances is a sense of building community and human bridges, which is especially vital during this most disjointed time.

To make donations to the artist you can send $ via Venmo: @Brenton-Weyi

DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!!

Joshua Ware is an artist and writer living in Denver, Colorado.

To make donations to the artists you can send $ via Paypal:

buildingthefactory@hotmail.com

DETH LIGHGHT IX: The Illumination of Nothingness

1. During the autumn of 1965, Aram Saroyan composed lighght. An audience, he said, should “see rather than read” the poem—for it is “sculptural” as much as textual.

2. When we say light, we pass through gh silently.

2. When we say lighght, we, too, pass through ghgh silently; but we are aware of silence because silence becomes seen.

3. Silence is the sound of nothing; but ghgh is variation producing pause. DETH LIGHGHT, too, is a kind of pause.

4. If “habit is the great deadener,” then DETH LIGHGHT is the great leveler.

5. Americans do American things: families, houses, careers, and cars; vacations and 401Ks.

6. When we die, our names will be forgotten. No 401K will save us.

7. The dead do not worry about American things.

8. We become nothing in our unnamedness, regardless of our station.

9. Sappho is nothing now but fragments; her contemporaries lost forever.

10. If we are to be forgotten, then dance inside the DETH LIGHGHT. But gracefully so.

11. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a dance of insignificance before we disappear.

12. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! sways with the apocalypse.

13. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! says “I am this body who dances horribly in heavy boots.”

14. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! explores public spaces rendered empty by disease.

15. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! explores intimacy in a time of social distancing and PPE.

16. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! partakes in our own decay.

17. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a dilettante’s film—and unashamedly so.

18. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a love song for everyone.

19. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a prayer to no one.

20. DETH LIGHGHT is the illumination of nothingness.

Exercising – by Michael John McKee

Here is the fourth broadcast in Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series, Was, Is, Will Be.

In “Exercising,” Michael explores the intersection of endurance, minimalism, and indeterminacy through the human body, percussion, and technology, paralleling a daily life during stay-at-home orders.

Bio – Michael John McKee is a musician and sound artist. Under the moniker Helicopter Copter, Michael produces sound-forward mixed media, including projects like experimental music video collaborations, sound design and incidental music for theatre, tongue-in-cheek compositions, wind chime sound installations, and alt music performances.

To make donations or send tips to the artist use Venmo – @micjohmck

How Coronavirus Has Changed the Denver Art Scene

303 Magazine | 05/07/2020

The signs of this are all around. Leon Gallery on 17th Avenue offered three artists the opportunity to showcase whatever they wanted in the windows of the gallery so that passers-by could enjoy the beauty “on the way to or from picking up essentials or taking your daily walk” called Please Stand By. Venmo accounts are displayed so that people can donate directly to the artists.

Read More

Leon Gallery’s directors are in no rush to reopen

Denverite | 05/07/2020

Retail and other businesses that were shuttered during Denver’s coronavirus stay-at-home will start to ease open this weekend as the city transitions to safer-at-home.

Retail is part of their business, so Leon Gallery’s directors believe they can open. But Eric Nord and Eric Dallimore are in no rush. They’re keeping the focus on an installation series that can be viewed from outside the closed gallery and an online performance art festival they developed during the stay-at-home orders. It will be June before they start inviting art lovers back into the nonprofit art and event space at 1112 E. 17th Ave. in City Park West.

Photo by Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

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Kevin Frances – Man in the Moon

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Kevin Frances

Man In The Moon

February 15th – March 28th, 2020

Join us as we celebrate the Colorado debut of Kevin Frances (NYC) for Mo’ Print: Month of Printmaking.

Photo credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

website: http://www.kevinfrances.com/

Statement:

Objects are spread across a table: books, bills, an almost empty cup of coffee, a note to self–“the sun moves across the sky.”

Initials are scrawled on an interior wall, in round blue letters, high up near the ceiling–RTHRS.

Ordinary objects and events, things we have held in our hands a thousand times, paths we walk every day, have incredible potential–the potential to knock our perception off kilter, to make us see things anew, the potential to tell us a story, an epic in the scratches on a coffee table.

My work is about the made world, probing the world of objects, their cultural significance, what they can tell us about a person, that transformational moment when they transcend bland reality and become new and strange, and that shimmering edge in between those two states of mind.

In Monolith, I mined my life for spaces that triggered a cascade of memories; corners where I ate breakfast every day, awkward doorways and corridors, worn parquet floors. I made small scale sculptures out of these spaces, sometimes realistically, sometimes in incongruous materials, like a corner of a room made out of speckled clay. I combined these objects with projections of shadows I had gathered; light coming in through blinds, hanging plants, a silhouette self-portrait. I borrowed and stole objects and images, like a bird looking for shiny things with which to build a nest. I took pictures of these arrangements.

My work has often involved layers of translation, usually from medium to medium, sculpture to photo to woodblock print. My thought process for this project took a similar path; starting with spaces that had strong personal resonances, I set those aside and let formal concerns lead the way, which lead back into meaning, but in a more open, stranger way.

Bio:

Kevin Frances is an artist who lives and works in New York City. He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, and his BA from the University of California, Davis in 2010. In 2012 he was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His work has been shown at the International Print Center New York, the Knockdown Center in New York, Cheymore Gallery in New York, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, the Kala Gallery in Berkeley, and Galleri CC in Malmö, Sweden. He received a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant in 2016, and the St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist Award in 2017.

PRESS:

5280

Westword

Available Works

You know, I didn’t like it, so I broke it Woodblock Print 20” x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
Monolith Woodblock Print 20” x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
In the Headlights Woodblock Print 20” x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
Monolith 11 (top), Monolith 2 (bottom) Chromogenic Color Print 6” x 9” Edition of 6 $ 200 unframed $ 250 framed
Monolith 5 (Top), Monolith 1 (Bottom) Chromogenic Color Print 6” x 9” Edition of 6 $ 200 unframed $ 250 framed
Monolith 10 (Top), Monolith 9 (Bottom) Chromogenic Color Print 6” x 9” Edition of 6 $ 200 unframed $ 250 framed
Let the Shadows have their Space Woodblock Print 20“ x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
My Room / Her Room Woodblock Print 20“ x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed

Bunny M – Beasts of Burden

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bunny M – beasts of burden

Instagram: instagram.com/thebunnyM

Website: www.bunnyM.com

Leon is proud to announce the largest solo show to date in Denver of the works of bunny M. Predominantly existing only in the streets, artist bunny M, will be taking a rare moment in her career to exhibit beasts of burden, a collection of new paintings at Leon Gallery. beasts of burden is the culmination of a three year period of study from the prolific fine artist.

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, October 26th 7pm – 11pm

EXHIBITION: October 26th , 2019 – December 21st, 2019

*All exhibitions are FREE and open to the public.

bunny M is a fine artist, painter, and vandal born in the streets of New York City in 2008. An enduring figure in the underground urban art world, M’s intricately hand-painted works have been discoverable for a decade in NYC, Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, Paris, and London to name a few. The scope of creation includes murals, wheatpastes, along with studio work on paper, wood, and reclaimed materials. Elemental, archetypal, and numinous, these paintings emerge from the subconscious realm of duality. M considers them to be animistic entities, desirous of interaction with you. They are drawn to our plane to surprise, enchant, and ultimately, uplift.

Photography by: Amanda Tipton Photography

Available Works

aposematic shapeshifter, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, in permanent vintage frame, 34.5” x 30.5” SOLD
(l to r): the living (venus), the dead (moon), the rare (sun), 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, 36” x 36” @ $2,500 (full triptych $6,000) available
the living (venus), 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, 36” x 36” @ $2,500 (full triptych $6,000) available
the dead (moon), 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, 36” x 36” @ $2,500 (full triptych $6,000) available
the rare (sun), 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, 36” x 36” @ $2,500 (full triptych $6,000) available
bunny M tags, 2019 bunny M tags with colored chains (red, orange, gold, pink, lavender, light blue, turquoise) @ $10 available
(l to r) hypnotic animal totem, dead dead, 2019 hypnotic animal totem, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, in permanent vintage frame, 46” x 29.5” SOLD dead dead, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, in permanent vintage frame, 19.5” x 16.5 SOLD
bunny #1, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, in permanent vintage frame, 36” x 30” SOLD
blue (forget me not), 2019 blue (forget me not), 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, in permanent vintage frame, 18” x 22” $ 1,400 available
nyc animal spirit (april 2019), 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on paper, over vintage chicago brick, 60” x 48” $ 10,000 available
paris animal spirit (may 2019), 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on paper, over vintage chicago brick, 60” x 48” $ 10,000 available
girl/boy, 2019 girl/boy, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, 18” x 18” SOLD
boy/girl, 2019 boy/girl, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on wood panel, 18” x 18” SOLD
the living rare, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on canvas tarpaulin, 110” x 90” $ 10,000 available
dark rainbow spirits #1 – 13, 2019 dark rainbow spirits #1 – 13, 2019 acrylic and bonded glitter on strathmore 500 series heavyweight board, 9” x 9” $300 – several SOLD, inquire for availability

Kaitlyn Tucek – Overlook

OVERLOOK Kaitlyn Tucek

website: www.kaitlyntucek.com/

August 31st – October 12th, 2019

Artist Statement:

On page 531 of the 2001 edition of Janson’s Western Art History textbook you can find the following quote: “So far, we have not discussed a named woman artist, although this does not mean that there were none.”

While doing research for an altarpiece I completed last summer, I rekindled my love and interest in Late Renaissance and Baroque art. This meant opening up my old college textbooks and personal library of art historical content. With over fifteen art history courses between my undergrad at Pratt Institute and graduate program at CUNY Queens College, I can’t recall a single professor mentioning Artemisia Gentileschi. Why? My senior thesis was a series of large illustrative portraits of heroic women in my community. Why did no one think to recommend a female perspective to compliment my own obviously female perspective?

In the last few years, I have started to revisit my own experience and the willful ignorance that both my professors and I had about female contributions throughout art history. The mainstream historical narrative had allowed only certain men to define what art was, and its undervaluation of the female experience still greatly permeates our art education and contemporary markets. I became particularly interested in Artemisia’s disappearance. Researching someone so forgotten by history creates a daunting challenge to put the pieces back together. The mystery leaves the door open for multiple and sometimes contradictory narratives and has enormous potential for troublesome exploitation. Groups lay claim, offering speculative truths. Fragments and perceptions lead to questions that may never be answered. Through more research I discovered countless other notable female artists who I had never heard of. I found myself following three distinct paths of artistic curiosity, one leading to my own perception of Gentileschi’s work and intention, one leading me to discover the many other women I had never been educated about, and one leading to the self as an artist.

In the end, I had unknowingly unveiled my own fears of being forgotten like so many other female artists before me. This show became a personal conflict, with an existential ebb and flow. There were many female artists that could have been, or rather should have been mentioned before page 531–it’s just that no one was advocating for them. I hope my exhibition provides another way to record their names, and document their contributions to art history, and maybe through this undertaking, mine own name as well.

Artist Bio:
Kaitlyn Tucek lives and works in Denver, CO. From Long Island, NY, Tucek graduated from Pratt Institute in 2006 and was awarded her Master’s from CUNY Queens College in 2013. Mother to two under 5, Tucek is a multi-disciplinary artist who is often labeled a feminist. Tucek has been featured in Hyperallergic, Westword, Modern in Denver, and was recently named one of Denver’s top 5 artists to watch and collect by 5280 Magazine. In addition to her art, Tucek occasionally moonlights in art and museum education, illustration and curatorial work.

Self Portrait with Theorbo

is a video performance of a new music composition for large Renaissance-era lute. Infused into the piece are quotations from Barbara Strozzi, one of Artemesia Genrileschi’s composer friends. Strozzi, like Artemesia and so man women, queer composers, and composers of color, had been largely left out of classical music history. This work offers a moment to show that hew work (and others too often-forgotten) still inspires.

Composer Bio:

Nathan Hall is a former Fulbright Fellow to Iceland, and holds his Doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA) from the CU Boulder. He holds a BA from Vassar College and MM from Carnegie Mellon. His teachers include Nancy Galbraith, Richard Wilson, Reza Vali, Carter Pann, and John Drumheller. His works have been performed and exhibited around the world by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Tenth Intervention, GALA Choruses, Playground Ensemble, Decho Ensemble, The Gay/Lesbian Chorus of San Francisco, New Wave Singers, International Orange Chorale San Francisco, Ars Nova Singers, Duo Harpverk, a convention of roller coaster enthusiasts, artist Ragnar Kjartansson, and porn star Dirk Caber. Nathan has been awarded numerous grants including a New Music USA grant and the Denver Music Advancement Fund. His residencies include Denver Art Museum’s first Creative in Residence, Acadia National Park, Boulder Public Library Maker in Residence, and the Ogilvy Travel Fellowship to Ireland. He is President-Elect of the Board of Playground Ensemble and lives in Denver.

Theorbo: Nicolò Spera
Video: John Roberts, Dustmite Films

A special thank you to those who helped the artists realize their designs

Matt Tripodi Sophie Lynn Morris Bonnie Gregory Christine Kane Kate Wilkonson Nicolò Spero

Photography by Amanda Tipton

(L to R):
Melancolia, 2019
Acrylic, pastel, graphite on stain, linen, chiffon, and velvet, 50” x 60”
$ 4,000 Available
Tabula Rasa, 2019
Acrylic, graphite on satin, linen, and silk chiffon, 50” x 60”
$ 4,000 Available
Dagger in table, 2019
$ 500 Available
Melancolia, 2019
Acrylic, pastel, graphite on stain, linen, chiffon, and velvet, 50” x 60”
$ 4,000 Available
Tabula Rasa, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on satin, linen, and silk chiffon, 50” x 60” $ 4,000 Available Dagger in table, 2019 $ 500 Available
Tabula Rasa, 2019 – Detail Acrylic, graphite on satin, linen, and silk chiffon, 50” x 60” $ 4,000 Available
Dagger in table, 2019 $ 500 Available
(L to R): One for Sorrow (Embroidery piece), 2019 Graphite and thread on satin SOLD Magpie 3, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on stain, 10” x 20” (canvas), 12” x 22” (frame) SOLD
Specimens: Portait Drawings, 2019 Graphite on paper, 8 1/4” x 11” @ $ 60 – Several SOLD, inquire for availability
Magpie 4 with Peach, 2019 Acrylic, pastel, thread on paper with chiffon in found case, 38.5” x 17.5” $ 625 Available
(L to R) Cleopatra, 2019 Acrylic, pastel on satin and chiffon, 24” x 44” $ 2,000 Available Magpie 2, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on satin, 11” x 14” SOLD Danae, 2019 Acrylic, Graphite and thread on satin and chiffon, 16 “ x 26” $ 700 Available
Danae, 2019 Acrylic, Graphite and thread on satin and chiffon, 16 “ x 26” $ 700 Available
Magpie 2, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on satin, 11” x 14” SOLD
Cleopatra, 2019 Acrylic, pastel on satin and chiffon, 24” x 44” $ 2,000 Available
(L to R) Corsica, 2019 Acrylic, pastel, graphite on satin and raw silk, 10” x 14” SOLD Magpie 1, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on satin, 10” x 12” SOLD
(L to R) Susanna, 2019 Acrylic, pastel on satin and chiffon, 20” x 30” SOLD Magdalene, 2019 Acrylic, pastel on stain and chiffon, 24” x 30” $ 1,200 Available Peaches, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on satin, 10” x 20” SOLD
Peaches, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on satin, 10” x 20” SOLD
Clio, 2019 Acrylic, graphite, pastel, thread on satin, linen, and chiffon, 14” x 16” SOLD
Magdalene, 2019 Acrylic, pastel on stain and chiffon, 24” x 30” $ 1,200 Available
Susanna, 2019 Acrylic, pastel on satin and chiffon, 20” x 30” SOLD
St. Catherine, 2019 Acrylic, graphite on satin, 14” x 18” (canvas), 15 1/2” x 19 3/4” (frame) $ 800 Available Dress Satin on hook – NFS Aurora, 2019 Acrylic, pastel, thread on stain and chiffon, 30” x 40” $ 2,400 Available
Bathsheba, 2019 Acrylic on satin and chiffon, 24” x 28” $ 1,200 Available
Esther, 2019 Acrylic, pastel, on satin, velvet, and chiffon, 24” x 30” SOLD

Ramiro Smith Estrada – Expertly Paired

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June 29th through August 10th, 2019

website: https://cargocollective.com/ramirosmithestrada/index

Artist Statement

My current work revolves around contemporary modalities and the ways we see and portray ourselves. Through a narcissistic standpoint, we are constantly weaving a tale of who we are; fashionable, current and up to date. As on social media, my paintings attempt to highlight and beautify the “mundane” and at the same time exacerbate the clash between fleeing narcissism and the weight of culture. The “ornament” then functions as a means of symbolic and formal decoration.

My focus is on the subject of the contemporary construction of “self-image”. Focusing on a culture that does not delve into content but rather a place where the image reigns supreme. Imagery and the reflection of the other, and how we are seen seem to be the raison d’etre. Narcissism, the consumption of “cool” culture and the glorification of the mediocre.

Artist Bio

Ramiro Smith Estrada, 1984, lives and works in Buenos Aires. He pursued Engraving as a career at Universidad del Museo Social Argentino in 2007. He was selected to be displayed at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in the field of Engraving in 2010 and 2013, and to the Williams Award in 2012. In 2014 he was selected to attend the Contemporary Artistic Practices clinic (PAC, for its initials in Spanish) conducted by Gachi Prieto Gallery and delivered by renowned artists and professors Eduardo Stupia, Rodrigo Alonso, Rafael Cippoletti and Andres Wassiman. The same year he took part of a four-Argentinian-artist showing exhibition at VICE Gallery in the context of Art Basel Miami Beach. In 2015 he participated in an art residency program at LaVallee in Brussels, Belgium.

In 2017 he presented ̈CHETO ̈ his fifth solo exhibition at Mundo Nuevo Art Gallery (Buenos Aires), curated by Santiago Bengolea (Fundación PROA’s Contemporary Space coordinator). In 2018 he was invited to join two art residency programs in Denver, becoming a Redline artist in residence in June and a Taxi Studio artist in residence in October.

Exhibition Statement by Joshua Ware

The portraits included in Ramiro Smith Estrada’s exhibit Expertly Paired dazzle with their vibrant palette and intricately patterned designs. They are, indeed, visually sumptuous encounters that offer viewers aesthetic pleasure through their color and arrangement. But simply to look at his paintings for the purpose of optic gratification belies the cultural critique they wield.

In his iconic meditation on Parmigianino’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror,” John Ashbery toyed with the cliché “the eyes are the window to the soul” when he wrote: “The soul establishes itself, / But how far can it swim out through the eyes”? He answered his own question, shortly thereafter, with a hard truth: “The secret is too plain. The pity of it smarts, / Makes hot tears spurt: that the soul is not a soul, / Has no secret, is small, and fits / Its hollow perfectly.” Indeed, Parmigianino’s eyes are not the windows to his soul because the soul—“small” and “hollow”—no longer exists.

When Ashbery proclaimed the dissolution of the soul, he embodied his postmodern moment with an all-too poignant understanding of his era. Later in his poem, he expanded upon this idea when he declared: “But your eyes proclaim / That everything is surface. The surface is what’s there / And nothing can exist except what’s there.” By championing the surface at the expense of depth, Ashbery became a poster child for postmodernity. He challenged painters to rethink both their purpose and practice, while asking audiences to reevaluate their presuppositions about viewership and the self.

Similarly, Estrada’s portraits focus on, as he claims, the “contemporary construction of ‘self-image’.” Just as Ashbery leveled a critique against antiquated notions of the self that fit his depthless moment perfectly, so too does Estrada reconsider the self in an era dominated by social media and, to his mind, “narcissism, the consumption of ‘cool’ culture, and the glorification of the mediocre.”

To do so, Estrada strips his figures of most physical features, replacing them with floral-patterns that circumspectly traffic in tired tropes of beauty. If postmodernity collapsed a subject’s depth into surface, then the era of social media has provided us with the ability to erase our biologically-given surfaces in favor of an ornamental veneer. As such, Estrada’s portraits extend the Ashberian logic of the self to its conceptual limit. Call it, if you will, unselfing through hyper-surfacing.

Indeed, a quick survey of Instagram facial filters reveals no less than 70 options for distorting, enhancing, or obliterate one’s own image. Social media allows our online avatars to become our public personas. And the various filters, bitmojis, and photo-editing applications allow us to transform the renderings our digital avatars into whatever image we choose. These renderings, consequently, change with both our vicissitudes and an application’s available features. Moreover, they tend to disappear within twenty-four hours of posting or immediately after viewing. To wit, our self-images have become aesthetic contrivances that linger for a moment, then dissipate into the digital ether.

In addition to exploring mutable and ephemeral representations of the self, Estrada litters the foregrounds of his paintings with material objects; furthermore, he sets his figures against backgrounds of partially obfuscated text. While one could assume that the objects and text within the portraits relate in some way to the person therein, the original connections between them are mostly impenetrable to the viewer. Rather, objects and words become bric-a-brac divested of their initial signification. They transform into decorative elements that create a threadbare connection to the material world. Just as the self transforms into mere ornament, so too does our external reality.

If the portraits in Expertly Paired titillate, they do so as a rhetorical provocation that engages us in broader and more critical conversations about the tenor of our times. While Estrada’s paintings may not offer a corrective to the totalizing aestheticization of era, they do call attention to the ubiquity of the ornamental in ourselves and our contemporary moment. 

– Joshua Ware

Installation Shots – Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

Empirical Imperatives

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Empirical Imperatives
May 11th – June 8th, 2019

Leon is demonstrating its commitment to promoting performance art through an intensive five weeks series of events featuring some of the best and brightest performance artists of the Denver art community. 

Ben Youngstone + Henry Maximillian McCall 
Charles Livingston  
Jared David Paul Anderson 
Esther Hernandez 
The Flinching Eye Collective

Leon is proud to announce their upcoming performance art series, Empirical Imperatives, an exploration of the immediacy and visceral nature of performance art, celebrating artists who are actively engaging our community, challenging our notions of art viewing, and broadening our artistic experiences. The series is taking place from May 11th – June 8th, 2019. Each successive Saturday night at 7pm, the gallery will become the stage for each of these unique and innovative artists from within our Denver scene, who are exploring a variety of performance art styles, and expressing authentic, individual statements. The artists presenting include 

Ben Youngstone + Henry Maximillian McCall

Charles Livingston

Jared David Paul Anderson

Esther Hernandez

and collaborative artists The Flinching Eye Collective  

Saturday, May 11th, 7-10pm Ben Youngstone + Maximillian McCall
Saturday, May 18th, 7-10pm Charles Livingston
Saturday, May 25th, 7-10pm Jared David Paul Anderson
Saturday, June 1st, 7-10pm Esther Hernandez
Saturday, June 8th, 7-10pm The Flinching Eye Collective
 
All performances will take place approximately at 8pm each evening. Length of program varies with each artist. Refreshments and conversations occurring before and after the programming. We encourage our visitors to this series to consider donating $5 or more at the door, so that we may give 100% of the proceeds to our performing artists. 
 

Empirical Imperatives Exhibition Schedule: 
 
Saturday, May 11th– Ben Youngstone + Henry Maximillian McCall– Untitled.
Untitled is an exploration of the themes of repetition and stagnation through the lens of movement. We all have interior worlds that are easy to get caught within and habits that can erode the spontaneity of life. The impetus to go outside a comfort zone can come from within or from outside forces and we are looking to investigate what factors can bring this about. Using physical and verbal patterns as well as projected film elements, the artists will take the audience outside of the realm of their everyday while exploring the dancer’s own personal habits. Ben + Henry look to create a unique experience for the audience while challenging themselves to both embrace and reject the improvisational habits that we have built over a lifetime of rehearsed dance.
 
Saturday, May 18th – Charles Livingston –Catalyst 1,542,384 
Catalyst 1,542,384 is a performance/installation whereby Charles hand cut over 1,500,000 slices of bicycle inner tubes. Viewers are encouraged at any time to sit and take pieces of the tube, count how many they remove, record the number, sign, and date the ledger. Charles counts every slice and keeps a separate ledger. The number of slices changes with each performance as viewers take pieces and he adds. Catalyst 1,542,384 can be viewed as a catalyst for change and evolution through a process. A transformation from one state to a different state of being. From a micro to a macro scale through accretion and accumulation similar to how nature constructs. It is a metaphor for the interconnection between all things. A shared experience that allows for an awakening to our place and potential in the world. Living with manufactured plastics and synthetics is part of our everyday experience. Plastics and synthetics have been co-opted into the landscape, an undesired evolution of our nature. Using discard rubber addresses this chemically induced nature and environmental problem. This synthetic landscape is also represent in the synthesized sounds used to enhance a meditative state during the performance. 

Saturday, May 25th – Jared David Paul Anderson– The Primordial Playground
The Primordial Playground has been experienced in a cave, in the alley and in the next episode, in a gallery.  This is a concept where the observers of art become the creators of art through means of spontaneous actions while invoking a deep dig into the marrow of primal psyche. We will be better off after this primitive art performance as it will ready us all to prepare for when the gadgetry goes dark.  If the world had lost its’ vessels of technology that shackle today, we still, as a race of beings, must create art, with anti-technology.   

Saturday, June 1st – Esther Hernandez– née trance
The nature of the audience will be renegotiated through a series of movements, sounds and instructions in a three part performance that revisits and reworks an old fluxus score from the fluxus performance workbook. The performance, titled née trance is about being entranced by the past, and inspired by the work of the family of artists who came before!
 
Saturday, June 8th –The Flinching Eye Collective– Sticky Metal
For Sticky Metal, a new performance at Leon Gallery, members of the Flinching Eye Collective will present an entanglement of Post utilitarian humans fixing (or causing) problems no one asked to be fixed.

 
Every performance will be documented through video and still photography, thanks to Guilio Vallada D’Amore