Gwyneth Leech is an artist based in New York City and her focus is the rapidly changing urban landscape as seen through the construction sites of super-tall buildings. Observational painting and the use of strong color are the core of Leech's process, and she works interchangeably in water-based media or oil paints on wood panel, canvas or paper. She often paints outside, capturing the progress at building sites across midtown Manhattan.
Leech's fascination with construction sites as subject matter dates to 2015, when a 40 story building began to go up in front of her studio window on West 39th Street. She was losing a view she loved, but she decided to give this unwelcome change her full attention and made scores of drawings and paintings as the new building rose past her 13th floor workspace and blocked the view. She started calling it the Monolith. It had this slab-like quality, this immovability — and it began to represent other monolithic things in her life that couldn't be shifted.
Once the Monolith was finished, Leech's new interest in construction took her outdoors, painting at a travel easel. She is now actively following numerous building projects that are dramatically changing the cityscape, such as Hudson Yards, Billionaire’s Row on West 57th Street, the new MoMA tower on 53rd Street, and One Vanderbilt rising next to Grand Central Station.
Leech works from the same vantage points multiple times over months and years. It is the in-between building stages that capture her imagination. "It has been an incredible journey to chronicle these impossibly tall buildings as they rise from holes in the ground, surrounded and crowned by towering cranes. I stand at street level, dwarfed by massive forms, striving to capture the light and weather as they change endlessly across a mountainous architectural landscape where each time I come back the structures have changed!"
Gwyneth Leech's construction site artwork has been featured on NY1 television news, in the Village Voice, on multiple art and real estate blogs and in international print media. It is the subject of a multi-award winning short documentary, The Monolith, from New York City director Angelo Guglielmo which was awarded top prize at the Istanbul Architecture and Urban Films Festival in 2019. In November 2019, her construction paintings were featured on 1700 video kiosks across all five boroughs as part of Link NYC's "Art on Link" public art project.
Gwyneth Leech holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, and a BFA and Post Graduate Diploma from Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, UK. Her paintings have been exhibited across the United States and Great Britain in galleries including Susan Teller Gallery, Franklin 54 Gallery and the Flatiron Prow Artspace in NYC, Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington Mass., and in museums including the Pearl Fincher Museum of Art in Houston, Texas, Islip Museum on Long Island, NY, and at the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum in Scotland. The recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Hell's Kitchen Foundation Grant, several Scottish Arts Council awards, an Elizabeth Greenshields Memorial Award and a Thouron British/American Fellowship, Leech's artwork resides in private and public collections. Recent corporate acquisitions include Brookfield, Cimolai, Despé Italia, Metropolitan Walters, NYC Constructors/Banker Steel, Sciame LLC, SL Green Realty and Stonebridge Inc.
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