Leisa Rich is an artist making conceptual 2D, sculptures and installations. She calls herself an “experimentalist” although her roots are in the fiber arts. Rich uses plastics, thread, fabrics, mixed media and detritus as her primary materials. The techniques of 3D printing, as well as free motion stitching -- otherwise known as machine embroidery, a way of "painting" and building texture with sewing thread -- are her favored methods. She also dyes, paints, burns, melts, hand embroiders, casts, builds and assembles. It was a logical progression for an experimenter such as Rich to delve into 3D printing. This new technology is giving her a way to combine the historical background in fiber art with current technology, to invent new realities, and provides a way to continue fulfilling her ideas as her carpal tunnel and arthritis worsens with age.
Deafness as a small child and hospital time passed doing finger painting, crafts, and dressing Barbie in lush doll clothes her mother made, instilled in her a passion for the comforting qualities inherent to touch. Tactile sensations were there even when sound and humans were not. Rich invents visual realities that transform tangible materials into touchable, viewer interactive art works, and pseudo-Utopian environments that offer a collective human experience based on the unprocessed organic world and that also addresses our manipulation of it.
Rich has MFA, BFA and B of Education in Art degrees, and has been teaching for 41 years in schools, arts centers and universities across the U.S., Canada, and in her studio. Her work is published in numerous books, magazines, on line, and in televised interviews such as PBS' InContext. She has also written reviews and articles and created instructional videos for art organizations, magazines and zines. She has art works in the permanent collections of Emory Healthcare, The Kamm Foundation, The Dallas Museum of Art, The University of Texas, and The University of North Texas, and in many private collections in the U.S. and Canada. Rich has just published her first children's book, comprised of 26 hand made dioramas and matching tongue twister type pages. View at: www.animalalphabettravelingtwisters.com
Leisa Rich will be teaching this June in Dallas and Pittsburgh, and in July at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg. Upcoming exhibitions include a dramatic solo exhibition at Gallery 180, Stanley, Beaman and Sears architecture firm’s cavernous space in Atlanta, Georgia, and shows in London, England and Dallas and Waco, Texas. Her website is www.monaleisa.com