During her successful career as a commercial artist in New York and California, Leigh Wells simultaneously created an entirely separate body of personal work "exploring complexity and the unknown in the physical world, human life and culture, with an interest in attempts by science, religion and history to address these issues."
With inspiration as diverse as scientific diagramming, early Chinese ceramics, theoretical physics and extreme religious beliefs, Wells transforms her materials—gouache, acrylic, graphite, collage and found materials—into fascinating and beautiful abstractions of tangled strands, shadow objects and cosmic conglomerations that swirl together to form a dynamic whole.
I've had this grouping of Wells's work waiting in the wings (how's that for an alliterative run?) for some time. I thought to pull them out and put them up after recently spotting a Wells painting at sfgirlbybay—one I'd not seen before. There's something about the combination of contained chaos, underlying calligraphic form, Wells's wit and her judicious use of color and emphatic use of red that makes my heart beat a little faster.