“For me, the human figure has always been the most interesting subject. That being said, I would describe myself as a painter of people, not portraits.”
Portraits seem to convey a certain stillness- an attempt on behalf of either sitter or painter to not just capture this specific moment, but to eternally preserve it as it exists in this state. The work of Leslie Singer, on the other hand, seem to deliberately shake the notion of what defines a portrait by capturing the essence of its sitter, but doing so in a manner that invokes an unequivocal sense of fleetingness. Through her palette and in her handling of the brush, Singer’s subjects appear both at rest and in constant motion, a combination that utterly arrests the attention of the spectator and requires of us several looks. The closer we inspect, the more we also become aware of the careful attention the artist pays to light and shade, and how she has manipulated their effects to maximize the impact of the personality of her sitter.
Singer’s works are complete, but are nonetheless just painterly enough that they encourage the viewer to question and subsequently answer through our imagination. We look at one of her portraits and find ourselves in admiration, but also wanting to know more about the woman at whom we look. The model of Pause looks downward in intent contemplation- what are the subject of her thoughts? Are they melancholic or ones of quiet remembrance? Getting Chilly, while a more typical portrait in the classical sense of the word, forces our attention on the sitter’s face- features that, much like Singer’s work as a whole, are delineated by swift, sketchy strokes of the brush. We focus on what we know are her eyes, yet what stares back out at us is not outlines of pupils and irises, but rather two shadowy depths defined only by different gradations of browns and flesh tones. This line between what we know versus what there is, and the questions raised in between, is what makes Singer an incredible artist- one whose work we are proud to represent at PoppyLy.