The first memory I have of meeting Leigh Wen was at an Albany Center Gallery gala held in the amazing Union Station building in downtown Albany. She had a live auction piece that went for I believe a couple thousand dollars. (I picked up an Averill Greene painting that same night and regretfully, missed out on a Nadia Trinkala painting…) Over the years I have had brief moments with her, once in her studio in Albany and a few years later I believe in Beacon, NY for a Friendsgiving event. Now a sought after international artist who’s work and commissions can surpass $100K, she once again is participating in the area with a fundraising collaboration with Tony Iadicicco‘s team at the Albany Center Gallery. A very busy woman, she was kind enough to share some insight into her work and process.
Please state your name, occupation and background.
Leigh Wen, Artist, I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and currently reside in New York City, I received my BFA from Washington State University and MFA from the State University of New York at Albany. I’ve exhibited nationally and internationally since the 1980’s.
What would you say is the motivation or inspirational seed for your creative direction?
Nature is the motivation for my creative direction, I paint what I see and apply color intuitively depending on how I feel in the moment. A lot of my work relates to natural elements and themes of nature.
From the words of Independent Curator and Arts Writer Sarah Tanguy:
“Lines, in Leigh Wen’s art, are the defining agent. They form the hidden pulse and layered score of all the paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works…Etched deep into the surface, they spring and scamper across lush passages of graduated colors, distilling nature’s underlying forces into energized patterns of concentrated beauty.“
I find that while working I go into a deep state of concentration and meditation. Color is used to expand the work’s emotional range; my palette is drawn not from appearances but from the lyric and psychic necessities of my art. The uniformity of line, from edge to edge and painting to painting, implies suppression of the artists hand in favor of objectivity learned from nature.
You have been involved with ACG for many years now…what keeps you connected with the gallery?
ACG held my first show after finishing graduate school and it was very well supported and received. I received a lot of recognition after showing there, including being awarded with the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYFA, and Helena Rubinstein grants all in the same year. I still have a lot of friends in the Capital district, and still consider it my home.
Anything coming up that you would like to share?
I will be having a solo show in Chelsea, NYC at Fremin Gallery opening on November 16. I will also be participating in the Art Taipei and Art Miami Art Fair. Locally, I am participating in a sweepstakes with ACG as well to help raise funds for the gallery.
EDITORS NOTE: For those interested in a deep dive on Leigh’s amazing story I have included her official bio here below.
In 1979, she won the First Prize in Painting in the Ten Outstanding Young Talents Competition in Taiwan. In 1980, she was awarded Outstanding Merit in the Young Artists in Asia Now competition in Hong Kong. In 1995 and 1996, her work was selected in many national and international jury shows including the ninth and tenth Parkside National Small Print Exhibition, Large Small Work ’95 International, Small Works International and the First Annual National Juried Small Work Exhibition in New York, NY. These shows are highly competitive and are chosen from thousands of submissions.
Leigh won the SUNY Albany Purchase Award in 1995 the University of Wisconsin Purchase Award in the 1995 Parkside National Small Print Exhibition. She was also awarded an Artist Grant by the National Taiwan Art and Humanity Foundation in support of her solo exhibitions in the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. A catalog entitled The Harbour and the Open Sea was published by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Leigh was awarded a 1997 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. In 1997 she was honored with “The Artist Award of 1997” by the New York State Assembly.
In 1998, Leigh’s work was selected by juror Linda Weintraub to be included in The New York State Biennale Exhibition at The New York State Museum. Also, Juror Lela Hersh, Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the Chicago Contemporary Museum of Art, selected Leigh’s work for inclusion in the annual Mohawk Hudson Region Juried Exhibition. Leigh received First Prize. Her painting, Untitled #6, was purchased by the Albany Institute of History & Art for the permanent collection.
In 1999 and 2005 she was awarded Artist Grants by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Since 1999, her paintings have been selected to be part of the Art in Embassies Program of the United States Department of State and have been exhibited in the U.S. Embassies in Jordan, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Botswana, Barbados, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Namibia, Denmark, and Poland. Over 15 American Embassies around the world. In mid-2019 her works were inquired by US Embassy in Botswana for exhibition and a cultural exchange program with Botswana Culture Bureau is scheduled. In 2019 summer a solo exhibition is invited by Farglory Museum, Taipei, Taiwan. It opens on July 13, 2019. Additional international exhibitions include – America University Art Museum, Washington D.C. in 2021, and the Bangkok Art And Culture Centre, Bangkok, Thailand in 2022.
Hundreds of her works were included in both private and public collections. Her paintings had been featured in many major magazines including Art in America, New American Paintings, Art in Asia, Sotheby’s Auction Magazine, Christy’s Auction Magazine, Better Home and Gardens, Harper’s Bazaar, Architecture, Water Front Home and Design, San Diego Home and Garden and Interior, Art Trade Journal and Marie Claire, Taiwan.