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Leidy Churchman

Leidy Churchman is a painter whose many and various subjects have included landscapes, advertisements, online videos, Tibetan Buddhism, current events, nature photos, scientific diagrams, philosophical concepts, and even the work of other artists. In spite of this seeming all-inclusiveness, however, Churchman’s subjects are conspicuously personal, more like a browser history than an encyclopedia. Churchman has spoken of painting as part of a larger exploration of consciousness, a quest to expand what is knowable.

One byproduct of this quest has been a redefinition of what is paintable. Over the years Churchman has depicted the covers of numerous books, painting them actual size in oil on wood or canvas. Although these works share the indexicality of a Jasper Johns flag painting, they also carry a strong autobiographical charge: The Teachers (2018) depicts the cover of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, while Trans (2018) is a painting of the transgender pride flag. Churchman’s pursuit of the universal starts with the specific. The artist has said, “When we look up at the sky everything we see is the past and has already died a thousand, million, or billions of years ago. The paintings seem like this, a stage of things that have already happened but seem to be playing out in real time before us.”
Leidy Churchman was born in Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1979 and lives and works in New York. Churchman’s work has been shown at museums including MoMA PS1 in New York, Museum Brandhorst in Munich, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. One-person exhibitions include the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, the Boston University Art Gallery, and the Hessel Museum at CCS Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

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