Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Leah Rosenberg

My practice spans a range of media including painting, sculpture, installation, and cake. Central to my work is my fascination with the complex workings of human emotion and the pursuit of delight through color, form, flavor and arrangement. My process combines systems of accrual and layering techniques by way of color and stripes, to explore how our experiences and memories literally pile up. The selection of color, a decision both personal and informed by everyday experience, mixes the internal and intimate with the world of received images and external encounters.

Sometimes the layers transcend two dimensions and become sculptural, shedding the framework of the canvas or wall mount. These flexible yet delicate
stacks become objects. As materials they have a life of their own, often bending or curling in unpredictable ways, and are subject to the same slow drift as the
crust of the earth. As paintings on painting on paintings, they both conceal the gestures of the past and hermetically preserve them.

The cakes I make and serve can be understood as Proustian madeleines, invoking ritual foods eaten at seders or Christmas dinners, each one freshly-made, but composed of uncountable layers of time, shared beliefs or feelings. Though the layers of the paintings and sculptures can be consumed without caloric guilt, they too are reminders of Lewis Hyde’s injunction that “the gift must always move--” that celebration literally means to engage in ceremonies of rejoicing, respect, festivity: sharing pleasure and affection, understanding and fun. That, in other words, the roles of guest and host are interchangeable, if we want them to be.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 South 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
12th and Leavenworth
Admission and Parking: FREE
Phone:: 402.341.7130
Fax:: 402.341.9791