Leah Lewman

The relationship between landscape and architectural structure is a complex one. Man created buildings to ultimately perform one basic function: to provide shelter. However, modern architecture not only protects us from the harsh climate, in many cases it also opens us up to the landscape by way of large, pane-less windows that bring the landscape in, while keeping the heat out. My work explores the tension created from this visual divide between man and nature.

I use a combination of installation and 2D works to mimic, but also stretch and manipulate the relationship between a viewer and their desert surroundings. I focus on the architectural structure of the window, situating the viewer apart from a natural “beyond.” My work uses layers of paint, collaged layers of paper, and even forced visual perspective (in the case of my installations) to disrupt the traditionally peaceful dynamic that occurs when someone views a two-dimensional landscape image. The painted landscape, a beautified and idyllic image of what we think nature is, lies just beyond our reach – visible but also obstructed and inaccessible. A complex barrier now exists between the intimate architectural space and a much wider outside universe. The viewer must evaluate their own relationship to the land surrounding them beyond the walls. Through this work, I question whether we can truly relate to nature anymore.