Simchowitz is pleased to present Lotsa Love by Leila Spilman (b. 1994 Santa Fe, New Mexico), who currently lives and works in Montana. It features nearly a dozen artworks that expand on the artist's deeply felt, personal dialogue.
For the past decade, Spilman has been in a relentless pursuit of artistic inquiry and innovation. She admits to having 'few constants' in her life, 'Being around a camera has been an important constant in my life, and that all started with my grandpa.' Alden Spilman (b. 1945, NY) is known to use uncommon technologies, such as some of the first colour photocopiers and computer graphics, and the manipulation of printers and printing techniques. Spilman says, 'He would just shoot his camera without looking through the viewfinder. He was all about chance and letting go. And that—and his whole attitude toward making art—has been a huge influence on me.'
Spilman, who went into foster care at an early age, says that 'making art has been an amazing way to reconnect with my family.' Spilman's grandfather taught her the importance of 'play' in art making and the importance of life-as-art. Lotsa Love, in essence, is a love letter to him and his artistic practice. It began organically, with Spilman coming across images in his studio, images that had been degraded by moisture, mould and light, images that had no plan for use. Spilman applied various chemicals to each, pressing them between sheets of plexi, and letting them degrade further. That process produced a number of hazy, mysterious images that she later rescanned and printed. Some hint at backyard gardens and/or idyllic, dreamlike, organic worlds that mirror their biotic processes. These works are neither wholly abstract nor wholly representational, nor are they clearly photographs or paintings. They exist somewhere in between. For Spilman, they can also be seen as portals into her past and future. They tap into the 'deepest relationship of her life' as she describes her relationship to her grandfather, while representing a new phase of her art-making. While she has explored the idea of corrosion and toxicity in the past, it takes on even greater weight in this new body of work. As she says, the process of 'throwing something toxic on something beautiful' can be read as a metaphor for some of the trauma that has haunted her family.
Press release courtesy Simchowitz Pasadena.