Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

AROUND THE GALLERIES

By CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT
Times Staff Writer

Weaving body and
mind together

Kristin Leachman has been basing her paintings’ subject matter on domestic activities like weaving, knitting and braiding for about a decade, but it isn’t that conventional, even academic feminist trope that makes them so compelling. Her tangled knots of cascading yarn and braided cloth, painted in rich oil colors on tall birch panels that stand a few inches out from the wall, suggest everything from woodland waterfalls to undersea coral reefs, distant galaxies and animal viscera. Like the universe glimpsed in a grain of sand, her work plays with scale in marvelous ways.

Each of the five paintings at Newspace stands just over 6 feet tall and 1 foot wide. They pull you in close, mirroring your upright body, and the luxurious paint handling emphasizes the panel’s surface skin. The representational imagery keeps collapsing into brushstrokes that are calli­graphic in nature, recalling the action of the hand and wrist. Leachman intensifies a sense of intimacy that is at once sensual and contemplative, stitching to­gether the body and the mind in ways our culture usually keeps split. She calls this body of work “House Spirits,” and the title fits.
 
Newspace: 5241 Melrose Ave., Hollywood (323) 469-9353
www.newspacela.com, through May 7. Closed Sunday and Mon­day.