Kelly L. Walker // Rosa Leff | Opening Recpetion
Friday, September 22 :: 5-9pm
@ Night Owl Gallery
Join us for the Opening Reception!
This timely exhibition during Artscape 2023 challenges conventional notions surrounding street art and vandalism, inviting viewers to contemplate the fine line between artistic expression and social disruption. In a neighborhood that is teaming with colorful murals and graffiti, this exhibition aims to creates a dialogue between the work of two artists that draw inspiration heavily from the urban landscape.
Rosa Leff, recognized for her masterful “knife skills” in creating meticulously intricate works cut with an X-acto knife from a single sheet of paper meld vibrant colors and complex designs, draws inspiration from the dynamic energy of cityscapes. Her creations breathe life into overlooked and forgotten corners, transforming them into captivating visual stories. Leff’s works narrate the essence of community, narrating tales of unity, identity, and shared history. Through meticulous attention to detail, her art exudes a harmonious coexistence with the urban environment, asking viewers to reevaluate their perceptions of public space and the role of art within it.
On the other hand, Kelly Walker’s artistic vision stems from a more experiential standpoint. Her paintings often embrace the raw and unrefined nature of street art, eliciting intense reactions from onlookers. Walker’s work walks the tightrope between chaos and creativity, blurring the boundaries between art and its rebellious counterpart. Her bold and assertive strokes challenge conventional aesthetics, raising significant questions about who holds the power to label certain expressions as art or vandalism.
This pairing navigates these contrasting narratives by placing Leff and Walker’s artworks side by side, prompting viewers to explore the multi-dimensional facets of street art and their interpretation by these two artists. The exhibition encourages introspection on the underlying factors that shape perceptions of public art, legality, and societal norms.
This collaborative effort by Rosa Leff and Kelly Walker aims to stimulate dialogue about the intricate relationship between artistic intention and the environment in which it exists. This exhibition challenges the conventional discourse on street art, advocating for a more nuanced understanding of the cultural significance and impact of these artistic interventions in our urban landscapes. As viewers traverse the gallery, they will find themselves embarking on a journey that questions, illuminates, and celebrates the power of street art to transcend traditional boundaries.
Join us for this captivating exploration of urban artistry at its most daring and thought-provoking. This exhibition is a must-attend event that promises to ignite conversations that resonate long after leaving the gallery walls.
Kelly L. Walker is an American born, self taught artist who continues to study at the ‘School of Life’. She found her way to Baltimore, Maryland by the age of 18 where she has lived ever since. Walker absorbs the beauty, chaos and reality of Baltimore City channeling it into her work.
In 2013, Walker purchased a rundown auto shop in the heart of the city. The building is located between the historic cultural arts district of Mt Vernon and the newly designated Bromo Arts district currently undergoing a neighborhood revitalization. In an immense labor of love, Walker transformed the downtrodden building into a live/work space that has been featured in Baltimore Magazine as a work of art in of itself. An art collection covers the inside walls, boasting of other local artists. The studio and apartment serve not only as a place of business and a home but sometimes Walker opens her home for gatherings which benefit community organizations such as Creative Alliances’s ‘Art to Dine for’.
The dichotomy of Kelly Walker’s world translates onto her canvases as she paints in fits of inspiration which has led to an expansive collection of unique series, committing spontaneous reflections of her mood and emotions to canvas. Walker’s abstract paintings demonstrate the techniques, textures, and patterns she employs as a professional decorative painter. She pushes mediums past their intended purposes, encouraging them to collide and react, not rejecting happy accidents and forcing incompatible materials to meet. Utilizing a wide range of atypical materials, her works are intricately layered, calling reference to landscape, graffiti and color fields. Walker’s artwork has been featured extensively at venues both in and outside of the Baltimore area, including the Rosenberg Gallery, Silo Point, Gallery 1951 in Los Angeles, and the Delaware Art Museum.
Between painting alongside her grandmother and watching her father build reproduction antique furniture, Rosa Leff grew up seeing no distinction between fine art and craft. What mattered was that things were made by hand and done well. It is with that in mind that she creates her hand cut paper pieces. Each of Leff’s papercuts is cut by hand from a single sheet of paper using a knife. Her cityscapes are based on photos she’s taken in her neighborhood and all over the world. While Leff is best known for her ability to capture thin tangles of powerlines and intricate brickwork, she also enjoys experimenting with novel media such as paper plates and paper towels. Leff delights in bringing a modern, urban perspective to a traditional folk medium.
Leff has served on the board of The Guild of American Papercutters (GAP). In addition to being a GAP member she is a member of The Paper Artist Collective. Leff has exhibited her work throughout the United States, in China, and in Mexico. Her work has been acquired by The Colored Girls Museum (Philadelphia, PA), The Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, NM) and The Canton Museum of Art (Canton, OH). She is the recipient of a 2021 Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artist Award, the 2021 Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Artist Travel Prize, and the 2023 360 Xochi Quetzal BIPOC Residency. Leff resides in Puerto Rico with her husband and chihuahuas, Chalupa and Refrito.