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“Pastports” Works by Rosa Leff

December 17, 2022 - January 29, 2023

Pastports, works by Rosa Leff
December 17, 2022 -January 29, 2023
In the Helen C. Frederick Gallery

In her meticulously hand-cut streetscapes, Rosa Leff explores changing cities and the concept of time. Her subject matter is drawn from photos she took during her travels, including the destinations of Japan, China, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.

Leff will exhibit work she made pre-pandemic based on these images alongside new work based on photos from the same travels. With a post-lockdown eye, she has discovered new details in the source material that were seemingly insignificant before and are now beautifully intriguing.

“What I love about cities is that they’re always changing. Businesses come and go. Neighborhoods become trendy. Others fall into disrepair. Offices are torn down. Condos go up. And even when things seem to stay the same, the people change. These changes become part of the background of our lives and we may not really even notice them. But when one has the opportunity to return to a place they once loved after a long time there’s the feeling that everything, all of it, is different.” remarks Leff.

The exhibition contains a mix of work Leff made in her pre-lockdown travels and new work from the same photo source material. “These recent papercuts reveal the things I was unable to see before. In a photo of a busy market scene I discovered a man making eye contact with my camera, likely thinking that I was attempting to take his picture. In another I discovered a pigeon sitting watch over a crowded intersection. Each of these seemingly insignificant details combines to make a street a street. Nothing lasts forever, and memories fade, but in that beautiful blur that is nostalgia there is more to be discovered.”

Leff’s work is hand cut with an exacto knife from one sheet of paper. 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. Between painting alongside her grandmother and watching her father build reproduction antique furniture, Leff grew up seeing no distinction between fine art and craft.

Currently based in Baltimore, Leff has a BA with concentrations in art history and Spanish from Sarah
Lawrence College and MS in elementary education from University of Pennsylvania. She was apprenticed to Alejandro Cordobés at Instituto Superior De Arte in Havana, Cuba. She exhibits nationally and internationally and her work is in the permanent collections of The Colored Girls’ Museum in Philadelphia and the Museum of International Folk Art in Sante Fe.

VIEWING DETAILS
Members’ Only Online Preview: Friday, December 16
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 17, 6:00-8:00 pm
Regular Gallery Hours Begin: Sunday, December 18 (no appointment needed)
Online Gallery Opens to Public: Tuesday, December 20, 10:00 am

SAFETY PROTOCOL
Pyramid supports wearing a mask if you choose to do so, but masks are not required to enter Pyramid Atlantic. If you feel sick, STAY HOME.

ABOUT PYRAMID ATLANTIC ART CENTER
Founded in 1981, Pyramid Atlantic is a nonprofit contemporary art center fostering the creative disciplines of papermaking, printmaking, and book arts within a collaborative community. We equip, educate, and exhibit in our historic Hyattsville home. Our vision is to create an artistic hub in Hyattsville that inspires and enables local, national, and international artists to create and innovate in our core disciplines; elevates the local arts and small business scene; and enhances the quality of life for artists and neighbors. We value artistic excellence, infrastructure for artists, hands-on experiences, and collaboration.

This exhibition is made possible in part through support from the Maryland State Arts Council (msac.org), The Morris & Gwendolyn Foundation, and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County.

Image credit: Hoopties and Hoagies by Rosa Leff

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