Generosity, beauty, and dirt are embodied in my paintings. The paintings embody generosity because each one is an open-handed gift to each person—whether connoisseur or neophyte—who comes to it. The painting holds back nothing; the greater the viewer's receptivity the greater the gift. The paintings embody beauty, a quality both loved and hated—loved because it gives pleasure, and hated because it seems exempt from tribulation. Beauty does not stop to apologize for its apparent ease and lightness; it knows the exertion and care with which it was formed. To advertise the effort with which it was made or to apologize for its artifice would distort it. Beauty simply stands in itself. Finally, the paintings physically embody dirt, the earth itself, which is a fundamental element of paint. The first pigments, extracted from the ground, were simply colored dirt (as Philip Guston called paint). Over 30,000 years ago, human beings painted with dirt on the walls of caves. We have since emerged from the caves, added new pigments to our supply of colors, and have never stopped painting since the first mark was made.
- Leah Durner, New York