KATONAH, NY.- The Katonah Museum of Art inaugurates Under the Radar, a new series of solo exhibitions that focus on mid-to-late career artists who, while they may have shown professionally, have not been adequately recognized for their body of work. Curated by a rotating roster of visual arts professionals, the series debuts on July 13th with KMA Executive Director Neil Watsons choice of artist Leslie Lerner. The exhibition includes 12 paintings and two works on paper, and is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue. Presented in the Project Gallery, it runs concurrently with All Things Bright and Beautiful: California Impressionists from The Irvine Museum .
Leslie Lerner began his career as an installation artist in California in the 1960s. Greatly influenced by artists such as Bruegel, Goya, and Watteau, Lerners narrative paintings are part science fiction, part psychedelic apparition, and can be found in many museum collections throughout the country.
My Life in France is the title of an evolving, mysterious body of work that stretches over several decades. Despite the fact that Lerner never lived in France , it was the framework he chose to explore a multitude of themes. His iconic charactersthe Man with the Wooden Arm and the Lost Boypass through a tumbling series of narratives in France , Italy , Holland , Persia , before they finally face what the artist had been fleeing all along California . Lerner once said the state is the place where My Life in France becomes my life.
Lerner often painted dislocationan experience that he felt was closer to us than we knew, just over the next ridge, perhaps, next to an abandoned shopping center. The Lost Boy stands, sometimes befuddled, sometimes transfixed by what is around him, while above him is the brilliance of an atmospheric blue sky. The California that Lerner revisits in these paintings lies somewhere between the real and the idyllic. Lerner died in 2005 after a long illness at the age of 55.