I am a painter and textile artist (i.e. obsessive knitter) based in Southern California. Having learned to knit as a child, I spent several years making what I called "unexpected knitted things" including a collection of tiny clothes for taxidermy mice, large scale installations and sculptures. In 2006, I took up painting again, and also moved from Portland to NYC for law school. Law school turns out to be more or less the exact opposite of art school, except that law lectures are the perfect place to knit.
In 2009, I stumbled on Figment on Governor's Island and was immediately drawn to this amazing community of artists who help produce free participatory art festivals in public spaces in New York and around the world. Between 2010 and 2015, I exhibited knitted installations and performed original dance and performance art pieces at several Figment events.
In 2016, I decided to focus my energy on developing a painting practice. Both painting and knitting bring me into a state of flow, a place where small movements repeated many times over form highly textural layers of paint or yarn, until continued repetition yields a completed work.
Carly Leinheiser headshot
Artist Statement
I begin each painting intuitively with little expectation of the end result, beyond the color palette and, more recently, the overall composition as marked out with masking tape. As I apply thick layers of paint, patterns and textures begin to emerge from repetitive brushstrokes and interactions between colors across the canvas. These patterns are refined, and details are added in subsequent layers to arrive at the finished work. or me, the repetition of brushstrokes evokes the repetition of motion, like practicing a waltz, or watching a leaf swirl around and around in the wind. Once in a while, I'll finish a painting and find it suddenly reminds me of the fragmented images and emotions of an almost-forgotten dream.
My current process requires masking and unmasking of different portions of the painting to juxtapose straight tape lines and shapes against fields of frenetic, fluid, swirling brushstrokes. This process of obscuring and revealing portions of the painting with each layer of paint seems to allow for many more unexpected sychronisities to appear in my work, which I enjoy almost as much as the process of methodically applying and peeling off layers and layers of blue tape.
May 2019