Inspired by the local animals of San Francisco, Sentient City is an exploration of the wild, feeling beings living in our urban midst. It is the life all around us that we forget exists, the connecting thread of consciousness that runs through all life in this city, and on our planet. Extrapolating from a local observation, Leon moves on to explore much more universal themes, using layered narratives to make thematic gestures toward life on a changing planet, species extinction, and the human condition, particularly the notion that all suffering is caused by attachment, and that within that suffering lies all the beauty that is art, relationship, and the sacred experience of life. Inspired by religious paintings, graphic design, and surrealism, Leon gives us a remix that is modern, naturalist, and yet carries the gravitas of traditional religious iconography, commanding our attention not to a god, but to the beating heart of our shared experiences as sentient beings in a godless universe.
The process of exploration and discovery is central to Leon Loucheur's approach to painting. A self taught artist who made his first brush painting at the age of 27, Leon developed his skills through sheer experimentation, feeling his way forward like a newly blind-man groping through the darkness, gradually heightening his senses, his mental maps, his confidence, until he was able to navigate without hesitation. Over time Leon developed a fluency in many different styles and techniques of painting, and what started as wild arc of style exploration began to tighten, like a spiral winding inward, until the influences married into something seamless, vital and forward moving. At the heart of Leon’s work is a love of story telling, ranging from the simple and gestural, to more highly layered narratives, branching out in multiplicities of meaning; it all is born from the word, the prose of images. His work is frequently focused on exploring relationships of polarities, light and dark, order and chaos, rough abstraction and highly rendered forms, nature and urban decay. He enjoys trying to find balance in seemingly incompatible elements, to make them harmonize, each giving credence to the other, as they do in life.
As an artist, Leon draws extensively from his experiences as a child, where, growing up in Southern California, he was influenced by skateboarding and graffiti culture. Additionally, his father is what can only be described as an extreme wilderness adventurer, so he was frequently spending substantial time in back country environments, communing with nature in a way that few children had the opportunity to. In the end, he would return home to his urban life, his teenage pursuits, his concrete home. Through that dichotomy of experiences, Leon formed the core of his visual narrative, focusing on wild animals as subjects, while maintaining a loyalty to an urban aesthetic. It was an unconventional upbringing begetting a unique world perspective that shines through in his work.
Opening Reception: November 9, 2013 6-10pm
On exhibit through December 7, 2013