Aleya Lehmann Bench
We are very pleased to feature the works of Aleya Lehmann Bench. Aleya is an artist who beautifully transitioned from painting to photography some years ago. Her works have been seen in exhibits with Foley Gallery, NYC, Pen + Brush Gallery, NYC and she is currently represented by 555 Gallery Boston.
(Please click on the images above to view them in a slideshow menu)
Hey Sister Go Sister
When I view works in this series I think of the often aggressive movement of paint on canvas. No wonder I get this feeling given that Aleya had been a painter for many years prior to moving to photography. These color-filled forceful works are full of energy. The textural costumed figures move about in a frenetic intensity of a brush stroke on canvas. A parade of color and human action. Dance, theatre, performance. Beautiful and fun yet somehow serious in their push into the viewers senses. I'm compelled to look back again and again. Remarkably theatrical and present Aleya sews the costumes used in this project and through that craft I feel brings us even closer to this dance, this performance that an image executes toward a viewer. Stunning and explosive, quiet and textural these images attract. As always I like to paraphrase the artist in these intros. As Aleya puts it, "in many ways, it is a projection, my wish, to proceed, perform, parade, move, at will, freely."
- Steven J. Duede, Artist, Photographer, Aspect founder.
Aleya Lehmann Bench
I am a painter turned photographer (BFA, Painting, 1979, Boston University; MFA, Painting, 1983, American University). I moved to New York in 1983, rented a studio on Lower Broadway, and began a series of monochromatic imaginary landscape paintings. I exhibited and received recognition for this work early on. In the early 1990s, I began to experiment with painting on flat canvas “shapes” and then on 3-dimensional canvas “shapes” which were referencing costumes and garments. Later on, I began to produce the garments from tulle fabric, which also functioned like sculptures. Again, I began to exhibit the work, and gain recognition. In the mid 90s, I created a series of short films, which took my model out on the streets of New York, on a set of “errands”, in full costume—the same tulle garments. And then by 1998, I transitioned fully to photography; I took classes at ICP to gain darkroom skills, and initially worked in film, shooting black-and-white interiors and still life. In early 2012, prompted by the discovery of several amazing costumes which I wanted to photograph, I began a studio-based figurative series, working with the same long-time model, and a medium-format digital camera at that point. I completed my first major body of work, "Pageant Play" in 2014; a second body of work, “A very costly masque prepared but now shown” in 2017; and most recently, I started work on the series, “Hey Sister, Go Sister”. The imagery I reach for now pulls me forward, and also back.
In early 2012, I began a figurative series, with a performative aspect to it: I create a theatre set, sew the costumes, construct props and backdrops, etc., and then working with models, who “perform” on the stage I have set, I capture motion, color, composition, like a painter in many ways. I have an over-riding interest in seeing, in what is being seen, or has been seen, in how seen information is presented, concealed, revealed; in stories, truths, histories, even small histories, and I’ve been exploring these ideas through images referencing procession, circus, theatre, parade—reaching as far back as the sixteenth century, when seemingly simple theatrical productions must have appeared as pure magic. Much of this early performative activity reflected the rise of individualism in response to the devastation of the plague. I have an increasing interest in this: an individual’s courage to occupy a space, to perform there, to create a theatre of one, a procession of one. The motion in these images is the result of the figures dancing—for three and four hours at time; in many ways, it is a projection, my wish, to proceed, perform, parade, move, at will, freely.