Acrylic on Canvas
8 x 8 inches
Brian Leo (b. 1976 New Jersey) is a painter known for his floor-to-ceiling installations of small paintings. Leo’s source material draws broadly on personal identity, current events, pop culture, and social issues, resulting in brightly colored paintings of cartoonish forms and appropriated images. At the age of 16, Leo began painting as an emotional catharsis. He then attended Rutgers University without intentions to study art but it was during these years that his interest in painting took root. His efforts to create poetic imagery were inspired by Joan Miro and Paul Klee, and looking at Amy Sillman’s paintings influenced his use of personal history. Leo also went on trips to visit SoHo art galleries where he saw Barry McGee’s installations, which inspired him to present public and private concepts in a non-linear way. As a result, Leo intends for his audience to make free associations from his paintings, which range from clever and humorous to poignant, and to approach his installations as an intimate setting.
After graduating from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of Art in 1999 with a BFA, he traveled around the world and studied ancient and contemporary Asian, European and Australian art. He settled in New York and briefly assisted artist Ronnie Cutrone. He has exhibited widely in both galleries and art fairs. His most recent exhibitions include Amy Li Projects, Megumi Ogita Gallery and Art Gwangju. Leo lives and works in New York City.
The painting, Times Square, is a meditation on the struggle and controversy of the costume donning performers at the Crossroads of the World.