Leah Rainey is a painter based in Toronto.

Her paintings explore the elusive ground between the physical presence of the painted surface and latent memories, images and thoughts. Working with a reductive process of editing to explore the visual space around and between things, she observes and reveals that which is often overlooked; what we unconsciously register.

Her process begins with selected source material from fragments of visual information that are small, seemingly insignificant parts of a larger whole. Chosen intuitively and scavenged from a variety of sources: photographs from everyday life, old magazines, as well as found scraps and cast offs that appear in the studio through the process of making, are isolated from their context to create ambiguous spaces and compositions. The content (or lack there of) dictates the steps then taken to make a series of paintings.

The process of translating this unclear information into paint is analogous of the way an image is thought of or remembered. Constructing the painting is akin to the pursuit of a lost memory. The finished painting represents how an image can repeat in memory, continuing to be altered by the viewer's own thoughts and associations but in the end, maintains part of its original form.

Rainey works within a combined tradition of process painting and direct painting. Often using a broad range of techniques that interconnect through coincidence and the accidental.  Imprinted markings are contrasted by thick layers of paint creating both depth of field and a suggestion of old vs new, past vs present. Applying and removing paint builds incidental traces and residual marks. Fluid painting, punctuated by hard lines and graphic edges create a collage-like tension of surface against abstract imagery.

The suggestion of imagery and abstract details that are not immediately understood trigger the viewer's associated thoughts and memories which then gain traction within the spaces in the work.


Leah Studied at Loughborough College of Art (UK) and holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art, London (UK)