"Memories do not have sharp lines. I am interested in this inherent ambiguity."
- Leigh Werrell
Leigh Werrell approaches the communal through the personal; trusting that her private thoughts and observations will connect her to others rather than separate her from them. She shows what she notices and, along with her, we recognize the mysterious in the ordinary. As Werrell questions and documents the qualities and the consequences of living in a city, her paintings touch on the seemingly contradictory feelings of being lonely in a crowd or feeling a sense of community among individuals.
As both voyeur and visitor, the artist paints the strangeness that gets overlooked and forgotten in daily life. She is both participant and researcher; capturing the qualities of an experience through exaggerations in spatial relationships and color. Werrell picks and chooses her focus - sometimes zeroing in on the minutiae and sometimes encompassing the big picture. While recording the individuality of her vision, she captures the connection of her anxious, perplexed, and curiosity-filled experiences which are likely to be shared ones.
"I tell stories about my life. Painting gives me the means to convey my fascination with a transparent green bottle, tell a story about the joy of living alone, or express nostalgia with an old t-shirt.....laundromats, lo mein, childhoods, sitting in the sunshine, loneliness, electric bills.
Perhaps another person will walk by me on the sidewalk and ask themselves if my life is like theirs. Can a piece of art confirm this? Are you just like me? Come into my space, and we'll find out."
- Leigh Werrell
Night has its colors in the slight reflection of a wooden doorway or the yellow light of a distant window. Day is enveloped in layers of air with a blue or pink tinge. Looking through a curtain or frosted glass changes my mood and creates a contrast to the clear light of the street where I was earlier in the day, and how I felt in that moment. I consider these changes to be important as I develop my paintings and objects.
On dark city streets neon lights come forward, seeking attention, fulfilling their purpose. Items in my house have the same objective. I paint and sculpt those objects and scenes that, through meaning or aesthetic, bring me closer to them, like a storefront with a neon sign making me stare longer - asking, “What goes on in here? Aren’t you curious?”
I tell stories about my life. Creating artwork gives me the means to convey my fascination with a transparent green bottle, tell a story about the joy of living alone, or express nostalgia with an old t-shirt. We relate to others through our shared spaces and experiences. Laundromats, lo mein, childhoods, sitting in the sunshine, loneliness, electric bills. Perhaps another person will walk by me on the sidewalk and ask themselves if my life is like theirs. Can a piece of art confirm this? Are you just like me? Come into my space, and we’ll find out.
Leigh Werrell is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. She paints and creates 3D objects that relate to her life experiences, with visual ideas pertaining to feelings of mental discord, the uneasiness that emerges from the unknown, and nostalgia. She uses color to express mood and to create narrative. Much of her recent work uses papier-mâché relief techniques to create objects that are pushed forward intensely, and she also builds small objects and structures that she finds interesting while walking around Philadelphia. Werrell attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and is represented by Gross McCleaf Gallery. She has also been included in exhibitions at PAFA, Woodmere Art Museum, Cerulean Arts Gallery, Automat, Bowery Gallery, and others.