Stacy Leeman’s latest exhibit, “A Room of One’s Own” explores the theme of the artists’ creative space and is inspired by a Virginia Woolf essay by the same name.

For Leeman, her latest work was inspired, in part, by her experiences during COVID-19 when isolation led her to ponder the importance of the space around her and its implications for not only her creativity, but also the physical and psychological implications.

Leeman explained that the show, which is composed of 47 different works, “is an exploration of my studio space. My work is generally very informed by my love of text. Usually I’m inspired by Jewish texts. But for this series I found inspiration in the Virginia Woolf essay ‘A Room of One’s Own.’”

In her artist statement she explained what she drew from Woolf’s work saying “(The essay) speaks about the privilege most artists need to be able to create their work: a physical space that is also a creative space and a psychological space. Artist studios are sacred spaces, but, Woolf laments, these sacred spaces are precisely what is so hard for women artists to find. The pandemic, COVID-19 gave many of us time to think about the spaces we had for work. Woolf’s essay took on even greater resonance for me. In order to create greater creative opportunities for women, we need to ensure that there are physical rooms for them to have their own space.”

The physical aspect of art took on an additional role in her work as Leeman used part of her room in her paintings.

“With this series I did some things that I don’t normally do,” she said. “For example, I used very architectural shapes where my work generally tends to be more organic. I also used some special brushes - well, I call them brushes but they aren’t really brushes. They are made out of sort of cheesecloth and pieces of the floor of my (old) studio.”

Leeman said, while she had started the series, after being offered an opportunity to show her work, her creative impulses kicked into overdrive.

“I keep notebooks and ideas germinating over the years, but then for the past several months I’ve been painting like someone was chasing me. It was exciting to see the culmination of this rush of work (in this show).”

Daniel Guion, executive director of the Dublin Arts Council, which will be showing Leeman’s work through Oct.27, said her work is a great fit.

“We are always trying to bring challenging images to the community,” he said, adding that he and other council members “immediately noticed how strong her paintings were.”

Leeman’s paintings also fit the gallery itself, Guion said.

“Leeman’s theme is perfect for our space,” he said. “The gallery is an old home and it’s ideally suited for a show like this. Our gallery is filled with natural light and provides an intimate way to experience her work.”

“She has a certain courage as a painter,” Guion said. “To make a successful abstract piece is not an easy task. Her works have an abstract expressionism. You can almost walk into any piece.”

“Our mandate,” he said, “is to support artists. To give them a place to express their voice and we’re excited to help Stacy share her view of the world.”

Leeman shared that what she hopes people leave the exhibit with is perhaps a renewed sense of self.

“My goal is for the work to create a space for people to contemplate and be,” she said.

Leeman attended Oberlin College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in studio art. Her education continued at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey where she was awarded a master’s of fine art. She is represented by several galleries including Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland and Brandt Roberts in Columbus.

Noell Wolfgram Evans is a freelance journalist.

Recommended for you