Interview with Leigh Anne Chambers by Kenlontae Turner
KT: How much planning goes into your work? How do you balance spontaneity and order?
LC: There is a consistent interplay in my work between spontaneity and order. In my process I find a surface, in most cases vinyl flooring remnants, and I throw or pour enamel paint and let that dry and then my thought process begins. I look for a narrative or action that will never be revealed to the viewer but I use to personally to engage with the piece. Mostly independent from that I make composites from coloring books that I will later enlarge and use for templates to incorporate spray paint into the work. Each painting takes on a different journey and some pieces are more controlled than others. I find that working this way keeps the work fresh.
KT: What inspired you to use domestic materials in your artwork?
LC: In grad school I was engaged with the writings of George Bataille and his ideas of “formless”. His writings in the thirties challenge ideas of the surrealists who elevated the idea of art. Using base materials like vinyl flooring makes the work more accessible and viewers have a place to enter the work. The interesting thing about the materials being “domestic” is that you associate “domestic” with women’s work but in showing my work at art fairs the people drawn to the work are more frequently men maybe because they have bought these items at hardware stores.
KT: Which artist(s)/movements inspire you the most? And, in what way?
LC: Not necessarily a particular movement but those artists whose form becomes the content of their work like Eva Hesse and Dubuffet. Artists who are engaged with the materials and that then becomes the subject of the work are of most interest to me.
KT: What is the relationship you try to establish between a surface and a design you compose? How, if at all, does a type of surface influence the way in which you go about creating a design?
LC: The work usually has a direct correlation with the surface of the substrate. That is where my imagination begins with the shapes and textures of the substrate. I don’t think I am designing anything as much as creating an experience with the materials at a given time and place. I have begun work with liquid rubber on panel and I approach that work a little differently than the vinyl flooring but I am still having the conversation with domestic materials found in the hardware store and used for utilitarian purposes.