Leah Durner

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Leah Durner’s painting occupies the critical space between modernism and postmodernism—between postwar abstraction and post-Duchampian conceptualism and post-Warholian pop. Her output includes works in oil, acrylic, and gouache on canvas and on paper as well as works in poured enamel.
 
Durner has had solo exhibitions of her work at Loretta Howard Gallery (2012), 571 Projects (2011), Nye Basham Studio (2009), Wooster Arts Space (2006, her New York solo debut), Berry College (2005), and Limbo (1999). Durner’s work has been included in group exhibitions at Heather Gaudio Fine Art (two-person 2016), Winston Wachter Fine Art (2011), The Convent (2009), Art Gotham (2005), Cazenovia College (2005) with Julie Evans and others, Barbara Ann Levy Gallery (2000), Markham Murray Gallery (1999), Steinbaum Kraus Gallery (1997), CBs 313 Gallery (1992), Coup de Grace Gallery (1991 and 1989) with Karen Finley, Barbara Kruger, Nancy Spero, Jenny Holzer, Kay Rosen and others, SoHo Center for Visual Arts with Glenn Ligon and others (1991), Wake Forest University (1994 and 1990), and City Without Walls (1986, 1987, and 1988). Durner was an artist-in-residence at the Leighton Studios, Banff Centre for the Arts (2001) and a visiting artist at The American Academy in Rome (2016). 

While engaged primarily with painting, Durner's practice also includes drawing and design. Her drawing practice serves as a discipline, a meditation, and a means of finding source material, and is founded upon her studies with Robert Beverly Hale in artistic anatomy and figure drawing and her continuing practice of drawing after sculpture. Durner's pedagogical lineage extends back to  Jean-Louis David through Hale who studied drawing with George Bridgman, who studied with Jéan-Leon Gérôme, who studied with Gustave Boulanger, who studied with Paul (Hippolyte) Delaroche, who studied with Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, who studied with Jean-Louis David.
 
Durner has a strong interest in design, the history of the relationship between the fine arts and design, and in democratizing the art experience through design. 

Durner's current theoretical focus is on extravagance, the term she uses for a constellation of concerns—including radical generosity, largesse, superfluity, flesh, materiality, painting, abundance, richness, wandering, and wild being—that is of central theoretical interest for her. Durner has curated exhibitions, published art theory, and lectured and written on a number of topics, including extravagant painting; the American landscape; gestural abstraction and phenomenology; conceptualism and its sources; Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and art, money, and gender; artist Dan Graham; and composers Maryanne Amacher and John Cage. Critics and scholars who have written on her work include David Cohen (critic and publisher of artcritical.com); John Yau (poet and critic); Jorella Andrews (Senior Lecturer Goldsmiths College, University of London); and Michael Sanders (philosopher). Durner earned her M.F.A. at Rutgers University, where she studied art theory with Martha Rosler, performance with Geoff Hendricks, and painting with Leon Golub.
 
An intensive conversation between Jorella Andrews and Durner on her oeuvre and its relation to practices and histories of painting will appear in Dr. Andrews’s book, Merleau-Ponty and the Questions of Painting, to be published by Bloomsbury Press in 2018.