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

Jeff Davenport – Nights

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March 9th – April 20th, 2019

Jeff Davenport is a Los Angeles based photographer. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with Film and Art History degrees, he focused most of his creative output as a musician in Denver. Inspired by the vivid terrain and its expanding arts scene, Jeff moved to Los Angeles in 2016 to concentrate on his photography. Jeff works primarily in urban landscape and portraiture, often emphasizing the plasticity of color and perception.

Nights is a collection of street photographs shot over the last four years during late night walks through the neighborhoods of Los Angeles and beyond. These photographs explore the sublime in the nondescript corners of the everyday.

Working only with the predetermined light of city planners, business and home owners, the work reveals how the transactional light of security and safety can transcend into the fantastic and the extraordinary. Influenced by directors like Michael Mann, the painters of the Ashcan School, Richard Estes’ photorealism and the filmic mega-productions of Gregory Crewdson, Nights is a homage to our inner lives and imaginations — stills of the films playing in our heads.

Limited Edition Fine Art Prints

These photographs were shot exclusively for this show and are being sold as highly limited editions. Each is an Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta fine art paper. Printed by The Icon in Los Angeles, supervised by the artist.

Open Edition Small Prints

Each 8”x10” print is signed by the artist. These are unlimited editions and were shot over a period of 4 years in Los Angeles, Portland and Denver. These are non-exclusive to this show.

C-Prints on Kodak Endura Paper


For purchasing, contact us at:


1910 — Cut From The Same Cloth

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A collaborative project by Schoph + Jamie Lynn

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Exhibition: January 31st- March 2nd, 2019

“Cut From the Same Cloth” – (idiomatic, of two or more persons or things, Very similar; possessing many of the same fundamental characteristics)

An art show brought to you by 1910 – the collaborative works of Jamie M. Lynn and Schoph Schofield.

Working together under the name 1910, Schoph and Jamie bring a showcase selection of the past years works .The collaborative work of the pair go hand in hand and together, or apart, they have one of the most recognizable styles in the snow industry today.

Through all the creative material being forged on the daily, Jamie Lynn strikes a chord throughout the industry. His legendary status and decades working alongside Lib Tech, Vans, Volcom and Dragon has produced some of the most iconic / famed artworks in the snow world. Inspiring and laying down a path for generations to come.

Over the past few years Jamie teamed up with close friend and renowned global artist Schoph. Yorkshire, UK born, a polarizing figure in the snow and skate scene and today is more influential for the snowboard art community than just about any other artist out there, curating group shows bringing industry artists together, along with producing years of work for mutual long standing benefactors Lib Tech, Vans , Volcom, and Dragon to name a few.

Schoph’s distinct bold style compliments Lynn’s as they go back and forth. The two are equal parts creative as they are elusive and mystifying, an unstoppable force where their works are concerned.

Together they are 1910, two mates having a good time all the time, showcasing creativity and having an opportunity to share the good times through artistic endeavors to like-minded individuals. They both welcome you to “Cut from the same cloth”, a selection of works of originals and print”.

Photo Credit – Amanda Tipton Photography

Cymon Padilla – re:mix

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re: mix
Paintings by Cymon Padilla

Opening Reception: December 1st, 2018 7pm-11pm

Exhibition: December 1st, 2018 – January 26th, 2019

Leon is excited to present the first solo exhibition of Cymon Padilla’s paintings in Denver, CO. Cymon’s work exudes an irreverent and giddy wit, through the sampling of iconic images that span multiple centuries, while also invoking modern day pop culture. Diverse and dissonant elements are distilled into lean, impactful compositions, which themselves reference various artistic movements such as Dada collage, AbEx formalism, Surrealism, or Pop Art illustration, then morphed by the technological tools of computerized manipulation.

Artist Statement

My current body of work aims to fuse disparate elements of our shared visual culture, whether seen through screens connected to vacuum tubes, the pixels on a phone, or the pages of an art history book. Using traditional oil painting techniques to represent collage, digital manipulation, and trompe l’oeil, I combine, collapse, and remix the imitated world onto the flat surface of the picture plane, mashing classical European figurative work with the golden age of Disney, Saturday morning cartoons, pop art, and vintage advertisement.


Cymon Padilla was born in Colorado Springs in 1983. He received his Associate of Arts from Pikes Peak Community College in 2012, and has shown his work regionally ever since. When not at his day job or in the studio, Cymon spends much of his time wondering what his dog is thinking.

IG: @cymonpadilla

Patrick Wilkins – Fun Isn’t Fun Anymore

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June 16th – July 28th, 2018

Paintings by Patrick Wilkins

Fresh from a successful group exhibition at Chicago’s Heaven Gallery, Patrick Wilkins, a recent MFA recipient in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will be mounting his first solo exhibition at Leon on June 16th, 2018.

The exhibition will run for six weeks from June 16th, through July 28th, 2018, and will feature a wide variety of paintings created by the artist over the past two years. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 16th, from 7-11pm.

The focus of Wilkins’ work is the expression of stress and anxiety that comes from leading two very different lives: holding down blue collar jobs and being a painter. Wilkins utilizes a formal painting language and cartoon imagery to create and unstable cacophony of patterns, colors, and marks. Adding to the compositions, he collages found objects, drawings, and craft materials into his work. The results have a bright and playful façade that upon further inspection reveals a contradictory critical content. Although the final result may be seen as a compromise, there is both a clashing discordance and a unifying harmony to be found in his deft balancing act.

Patrick Wilkins was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and grew up in Elkhart, Indiana. He earned his BA in Painting and Printmaking at Purdue University, and his MFA in Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He currently lives and paints in Chicago, Illinois.

Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

Tom Waits Tuesdays

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Travis Hetman’s Tom Waits Tuesdays – a limited edition print release

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 – Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Opening Reception – Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 5pm – 10pm

35 different prints in editions of seven.

Edition #1 of 7 of all 35 drawings are gathered together into a one-of-a-kind comprehensive collector’s edition portfolio – $2,000

Edition #2 of 7 of all 35 drawings are available as framed prints for $100 each.

Editions #3 through #7 are available as unframed prints for $50 each.

The music that spans across the years of Tom Waits’ career creates a labyrinth that I’ve come to be pleasantly lost inside while making art. There is an almost bottomless well of little poetic moments that beg to be illustrated and expanded upon.

For the pure joy of it I began posting drawings on the occasional Tuesday on my Instagram. The images were undoubtedly drenched in the stuff of particular Waits tunes, and it quickly became a tradition known as “Tom Waits Tuesday.” In a first-come-first-served style the original drawings were all posted, sold, and shipped to their various destinations. It only felt right to perhaps drop the needle on some vinyl, pack them all together into the proverbial station wagon, and head to Leon!

And so now, the entire collection gathered together here, and on view as one big happy family, all of the thirty-five Tom Waits Tuesdays original drawings are now released as limited edition prints. Get them while you can. When these numbered and signed limited edition prints are gone, that’s it, you’re SOL.

– Travis Hetman

Of The Moment

Saturday, April 21st – Esther Hernandez – Tooth or Dare is a series of relational aesthetic performances. Participants are set up on blind dates by the artist and instructed to play a special card game, allowing players to make choices that whimsically involve performance, intimacy and vulnerability, all the while challenging social norms and conventional dating routines and rituals.

Esther Hernandez – Tooth or Dare

Photo Credit: Jake Holschuh

Saturday, April 28th – Lin Wen-Ben – Please Punch: The Martial Artist 2 is a process investigation of experimental painting employing a caricature of his identity, a suspended punching bag with a floor mounted canvas, and nunchucks as a prop to explore east/west notions of masculinity within the world of the abstract expressionist white male artist. After the performance, Ben challenges visitors to step beyond the passivity of mere viewing, and instead becoming active participants in the energetic experiencing of gestural mark making.    

Lin Wen-Ben – Please Punch: The Martial Artist 2   

Photo Credit: Jake Holschuh

Saturday, May 5th – Jeff Page – The Blushing Blow – is a performative installation playing upon the effects of shame, exploring ways in which the heavy, negative emotion can be transformed and utilized in various ways as a transcendent poetic tool.  

Jeff Page – The Blushing Bow

Photo Credit: Jake Holschuh

Saturday, May 12th – Jordan Knecht – Signal Noise is an immersive, pluralistic exploration of signal-to-noise ratios amplified by the world of social media. “Please turn cellphones on before the beginning of the performance.” 

Jordan Knecht – Signal Noise

Photo Credit: Jake Holschuh

Saturday, May 26th – Tobias Fike & Matthew Harris – Pop is an absurdist performative dueling match involving needle-tipped swords and inflated body parts. Ephemeral balloon sculptures and installations will trasnsform the gallery into a landscape of brightly colored lightheartedness.

Tobias Fike & Matthew Harris – Pop

Photo Credit: Jake Holschuh

Eriko Tsogo – “Wrong Women Myths from Sky”

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All Photograpy by Amanda Tipton

Artist Statement

I am the last of the fast vanishing nomadic Mongol ethnicity.

I am a Mongolian American cross-disciplinary artist merging visual art and film, born on the vast steppes of Mongolia. I grew up in societies of parallel cultural and political/societal dysfunction having been raised in Hungary and immigrating to the United States with my family at the age of 8.

My identity as a first generation Mongolian American migrant allows a life of duality where opposing values and norms of Eastern and Western spiritual and social traditions constantly clash and fuse – creating a marginal periphery of absent power origin. My ever-revolving dual identity as a first generation Mongolian American nomadic voyeur profoundly shapes my artistic process. I am interested in expressing the embattled emotional middle space of the marginal human devoid of identity. I seek to explore the conflicting psycho-spiritual, cultural and disjointed effects of globalization on marginalized identities with attention to woman’s issues; one who perpetually lives both in war and peace within two worlds, in both of which more or less a stranger.

My work is about history and tradition, identity censorship, mythology, folklore, dreams, spirituality, death, and nature set in contemplative scenarios that transform into symbolic allegories for socio-political issues. Within these (psychological mind) spaces, where the fragments of memory, dreams, and the residues of formative experience intermingle with contemporary mythology – I present a space for the renegotiation of identity and the realignment of desire. By revealing the strange and curious inner-workings of the human condition, I aim to examine the fluctuating operations of human identity, desire, horror, wonder and fantasy.

My artistic process derives from a balance of intuitive and concept driven method of experimental creation. In my drawings, I seek to create visual tension through automatic and intended mark making. I like to fuse binary concepts and techniques of representation, from contrasting languages of wet and dry textures, precision and chaos, into stimulatory layers as to create conceptual proximity between forces of opposition and displacement.

I experience my artistic production as an act of creative play between subject and object, and aim for a convulsive spontaneity in the journey of their creation. Similarly, I express my ideas and concepts through cross-disciplinary mediums of painting, writing, installation, multimedia and filmmaking.

My art acts as a transparent extension to my life and my perpetual search to identify and empower through the power of empathy and inspiration.

Artist Bio

Eriko Tsogo is a Mongolian American visual artist and filmmaker born on the steppes of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Eriko grew up in Budapest, Hungary and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 8. She is an alumni of Denver School of the Arts, having attained her B.F.A (2012) from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University. She currently lives and works between the paradigm spheres of Colorado, California and mindscape Mongolia.

Eriko is represented by Leon Gallery in Denver. She has had numerous art shows throughout the United States. In her alter life; she divides her time between her art practice and working as an inter-cultural arts administration professional at the Mongolian Culture and Heritage Center of Colorado. She is also a published author, and the founder/designer of “HiliteDreamer” contemporary unisex apparel collection. She is currently in process of completing her first international documentary animation film project, due to release in 2019.

Eriko’s art explores the conflicting psycho-spiritual, cultural and gender specific embattled emotional middle space of the marginalized identity; one who perpetually lives both in war and peace within two worlds, in both of which more or less a stranger. Her work is influenced by her dual identity as a first generation Mongolian American where opposing values and norms of Eastern and Western spiritual and social traditions constantly clash and fuse – creating a marginal periphery of absent power origin.

She utilizes mediums of drawing, painting, writing, performance, and multimedia as confessional means to shed light on her experiences of insight recollected from living on the margins. She likes to fuse binary concepts and techniques of representation; from contrasting languages of wet and dry textures, precision and chaos into stimulatory juxtaposing layers as to create conceptual proximity between forces of opposition and displacement.