Leslie Lew: American Original Follows a 3,500-Year-Old Tradition


Leslie Lew, Wonder Woman Making a Splash, Sculpted Oil on Canvas, 60 x 36 inches, 2012

Leslie Lew, Wonder Woman Making a Splash, Sculpted Oil on Canvas, 60 x 36 inches, 2012

American Pop artist Leslie Lew, who has been creating her unique “sculpted oils” for 30 years, actually is following a 3,500-year-old artistic tradition that art historians believe began on the island of Crete, site of the earliest known frescoes.

Unlike paintings done onto walls, frescoes are painted while their plaster base is wet—thus the term, “wet-on-wet”—so that the pigments are absorbed into the drying plaster. Because the pigments are part of the wall, they are not as vulnerable to the myriad threats to paintings applied only on the surface, and they have endured for centuries.

Using the wet-on-wet technique with oil paints, Lew swiftly applies various coats of paint onto the base layers while they are wet, creating a high relief for her special three-dimensional effect.

“I start with a blank canvas that I sketch out with all the drawing and detail. I then go into it by mounding titanium white acrylic paint with brushes to create the forms. I go back with thick oil paint, wet on wet, until I finish the painting. I only work on one painting at a time.

Lew explains that at first, she used a base of layers of oil paint. “The earlier paintings before 1992 were created entirely in oil paint, without the foundation of titanium white acrylic.” But she notes that oil paint can take up to 200 years to dry, this created subsurface problems, so she switched to the quick-drying acrylic for a stable base layer.

Virginia Miller, owner and director of Greater Miami’s longest-established fine art gallery, says that in her more than 40 years’ experience in art she has never seen anyone who creates high-relief oil paintings of nostalgic subjects like Lew. In Miller’s words: “Leslie Lew is truly an American original.”


Suzan Woodruff

Casper Brindle

Lisa Bartleson

José A. Vincench Interview by Coral Gables Television


During his visit to Miami, Jose Angel Vincench was interviewed in the gallery by Veronica Hernandez of Coral Gables TV. The artist describes his art, which has focused on Cuba’s “Women in White,” political prisoners, and other sociopolitical issues as “an extension of myself.”

According to Vincench, the current exhibition–“Vincench vs Vincench, A Dissident Dialogue from Cuba”–is his self-examination of the concepts of dissidence and exile, universal issues that have affected not only Cubans but many others throughout history.


Ned Evans


Ned Evans, Bingo, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 41 x 41 inches

Ned Evans, Bingo, Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 41 x 41 inches

When a surfer catches a wave perfectly, for a few ecstatic moments his body, the surfboard and the sea become one, flying with the wind toward the implacable beach. Malibu, Baja, El Salvador, Hawaii: the Meccas of surfing have been the classrooms of Ned Evans for nearly a half-century, just as were the art classes of Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Larry Bell and Craig Kaufman at the University of California at Irvine.

Evans’ exuberant canvases, inspired by surf and strand, evolved from “natural influences of the ocean, transferring its movement and energy into abstracts of color, strokes, patterns and layers,” according to the artist, who states:

“The physicality of surfing and the immersion in the medium translate into what happens in the studio. It’s not conscious—it just happens for me. I like to immerse myself in the process of the painting and the liquidity of the paint. Everything’s done wet on wet, and it carries right over into a similar sensation when you’re surfing. In other words, it’s about getting lost, losing the gravitational pull, or at least suspending it all for a moment.”

Evans’ paintings have been featured in more than 100 exhibitions in such leading venues as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, the La Jolla Museum of Art, and the Laguna Beach Museum of Contemporary Art.

See more artwork by Ned Evans here

Wang Niandong

Urban Cries, 24 x 18 1/8 inches, 61 x 46 cm, 2006, Oil on Canvas, WND1

Urban Cries, 24 x 18 1/8 inches, 61 x 46 cm, 2006, Oil on Canvas, WND1

As with so much Chinese contemporary art, the sensuous women depicted by Wang Niandong are more than meets the eye, according to one critic. Chinese artist Wang Niandong frequently superimposes a young woman against an urban background with butterflies, gazelles or other symbolic references to nature.

Most critics think the butterflies refer to a transformative effect, suggesting that clothes—or in Wang’s case, lack of them—or cosmetics have changed a young woman into a sexual commodity. At least one of the artist’s paintings refer to Japanese art, however, and in Japanese culture butterflies also connote promiscuity, thus the artist may be lamenting a lapse in traditional sexual restraint.

According to Dr. Bobbie Allen, “Chinese art is exploding in the world market because the art world has been flooded with imitations of Western styles. Collectors hungry for the ‘contemporary’ without the ‘weird’ or abstract snatch up nostalgic landscapes or romantic portraits executed with immaculate technique and virtually no origin.

“Wang, it seems to me, has put all his women in this position. She (Wang’s archetypal woman) always seems to me to be like Chinese art itself, which can no longer look back on its past, but rather than forging a new future for itself, puts on the lurid clothes of American capitalism and sells herself like hotcakes.”

Clowns, Money, Plane and Love, 11 3/4 x 47 1/4 inches (30 x 120 cm), Oil on Canvas, , 2007

Clowns, Money, Plane and Love, 11 3/4 x 47 1/4 inches (30 x 120 cm), Oil on Canvas, , 2007

Born in 1978 in Sichuan Province, Wang attended Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing and completed his graduate work in the oil painting department of Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 2002

See more on Wang Niandong

Christian Science Monitor Features Marco Tulio

Marco Tulio, Untitled, 57 x 64 1.4 inches, 2007, Oil on Canvas

Marco Tulio, Untitled, 57 x 64 1.4 inches, 2007, Oil on Canvas

A major article in the Christian Science Monitor (The heart of Latin art By Gloria Goodale) on the unprecedented number of major exhibitions of Latin American art around the nation features a painting by Marco Tulio and quotes a museum director who singles it out as an example of magical realism.

La Montera” (The Bullfighter’s Hat”) depicts a pensive young woman draped in a sheet, seated in a bullfighting ring. Near her are flower petals and the toreador’s cap. His cape is draped across a nearby barrier. Looking on are two sinister characters, one holding a scythe.

The painting is one of the six loaned by ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries to the Naples Museum of Art for its “Latin American Painting Now” exhibition of works by 50 artists being shown until Jan. 10th. The newspaper article states:

“The contemporary Latin American artists on display at the Naples (Fla.) Art Museum vividly carry forward many of the characteristics that have traditionally defined Latin art. ‘Vibrant colors, figurative imagery, and a joyful embrace of everyday objects,’ says director Michael Culver.

“He points to such artists as Marco Tulio, whose work ‘The Bullfighter’s Hat’ offers a contemporary spin on traditional elements of Latin American art. ‘He paints like the old masters with layers on layers that create a fine, wonderful surface that looks immaculate – almost like a photo – but also almost surreal in the way he places the object,’ says Mr. Culver, adding that it also evokes another traditional Latin theme — magical realism, in which simple objects take on meaning.”

Other paintings from the gallery loaned to the Naples exhibition are by Alfredo Arcia, Humberto Castro, Michelle Concepción, Ramón Oviedo and Elmar Rojas.