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Paul Leibow (v. 2)

Paul Leibow is a fluxus painter, poet, mixed media and installation artist who has exhibited extensively in the New York / New Jersey metropolitan area. Recent achievements include being featured at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City with an accompanying publication. His work has been included in notable exhibitions involving curators from the Whitney Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art. His poetry has been published in several volumes of The Red WheelBarrow books and read on air at National Public Radio (NPR). Paul has exhibited in museums including a solo show at the Monmouth Museum and with inclusion in the New Jersey Arts Annual at the Noyes museum. 

Aedra Fine Arts published an interview with Paul Leibow in October of 2016, he has the honor of being the first artist to be featured in the Artist Feature Catalogue more than once. Paul’s work emphasizes the process over the finished product. His paintings sometimes come off as having an unfinished quality or executed with crude, broad, rough brush strokes. In his sculptures he sometimes incorporates found objects and throughout all mediums can be found the occasional reference to pop culture icons like Batman and Felix the Cat. Paul’s art strives to break barriers and avoids being confined to traditional categories of art. 

In regards to installation pieces, one of his most notable three-dimensional works include a piece from his Currency series (pictured above). The work depicts Abraham Lincoln’s face on the five dollar bill cropped onto what appears to be a yield sign with numerous firearms protruding out from the surface. The guns range from hand guns to semi-automatic submachine guns to fully-automatic assault rifles. Obviously a reference to contemporary gun culture and to a president who was assassinated while in office. A work specifically about violence without depicting bloodshed.

Another notable piece of art would be from Paul’s works on paper series (pictured above). The painting executed with either ink or paint reflects a rough circular motion across a vast wide landscape orientation. As if the artist just moved his arms in a wide oval-circular motion repeatedly and then scribbled linear marks of paint in the middle. A work reflecting a monochromatic purity and Paul’s signature high contrast low saturation application. Blacks become accentuated with the use of strategic placement of gold colored paint or ink. The background contains the white of the paper and several unidentified ambiguous prints. Probably his best approach towards his fluxus philosophy, the painting reflects strategic improvisation. 

With variation and a knack for improvisation and conceptual relevance, Paul Leibow identifies pop culture, art culture redefining their purpose and meaning. A thoroughly contemporary artist who does not restrain his own impulses. The interpretations reflect sociological context which range from mysterious to portraying the direct impact media and objects identify within our lives. These works of art are meant to push our sensory experiences towards the harsh realities of improvisation and surface. Often confrontational without being aggressive, Paul Leibow’s artworks span growth and reflection towards his direct society with little to no references before the modern era. These bold, imposing works help define the role of the artist in contemporary culture.

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