Leigh Yardley works in installation and painting situating herself as a part of the system of landscape. Leigh has a MFA from Lesley University, College of Art and Design and has exhibited since 1994. In 2015 she received grant funding for her project, Convergence of Water an investigation in the three watersheds that converge in Madison County and an artist in residency at the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation Residency in New Berlin NY. This became the foundational work for her installation water Improv at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute.
Leigh has actively pursued community based projects receiving NYSCA Decentralization grants and facilitating the organization of several arts programs. She participated in the NYFA MARK program and has been a NYFA Statewide Artist Consultant. As a Visiting Teaching Artist for CNY Aesthetic Education Program she trained with the Lincoln Center Teaching Artist Mentoring Project and Advance Seminar for Teaching Artist at the Guggenheim. She resides in Hubbardsville, NY and is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Art at Morrisville State College.
“Just as the water is always whispering, so the inquirer into essential landscape discovers that the landscape whispers too.” -John Stilegoe
I build installations and paintings with light weight fabric based on my observations and immersion in the systems of landscape. The encounter plays a fundamental role in my work. Interactions with space are motivated by a desire for a relationship with a place and the moment. By walking, looking, collecting detritus and using cloth that becomes an element of that space the work becomes a distillation of the encounter.
For several years my work has focused the networks of landscape that are tied to water as a foundational resource. My connections and understandings of the physical impact of water, its role in the economy and culture is tied to this system of landscape, the watershed.
John Wesley Powell describes a watershed as: “That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community.”
It is my interest to create work that interacts with a space moving my perception of landscape from a scenic vista to a larger ecological understanding of place.
SFAI provided the opportunity for me to expand my experiences with water ways to a larger understanding of watersheds. While in residence I explored the water ways as pathways. There the cloth remained whole without water for decay. I had to make a choice about how to create evidence of the interaction. One choice was to take medium into the space as a way of collecting the surface, after 3 weeks I painted the cloth with acrylic medium whatever stuck remained on the cloth. I also started using GPS mapping as tool in my interactions. As I walked I created maps of my interaction and up loaded them to the web. That mapping process is now embedded in my practice.