By NOAH BECKER, May 2021
It was through Instagram and a general awareness of the artist Leelee Kimmel, that I fell in love with her paintings. After several months of looking and pondering, I decided to interview her for Whitehot Magazine around the time of her opening at the Journal Gallery's Tennis Elbow space in Tribeca, NYC.
NOAH BECKER: What is it about certain colors that you like more than other colors? Do you find that making a painting is kind of mystical in the sense of what colors to use?
LEELEE KIMMEL: I don’t favor certain colors - I actually love all colors. Some I like to make sing and some I like to mute...
NB: When critic David Rimanelli famously and eloquently said your work is "investigations of inner and outer space," how do you think about that, what drives your inner self? Are you working intuitively or do you plan out the works and have a clear idea at the beginning?
LK: My paintings are a relief to me, in relief, (laughs) - but truly. Heavy question... one I really want to answer for myself but I’m still trying to figure it out - it’s a mix of an idea and being completely lost in it.
NB: Do you feel like the scale of your paintings changes the viewer's interaction with them? What kind of feeling do you want viewers to have when they encounter your paintings? Or do you not care what the viewer experiences?
LK: I care. When I look at someone else’s painting I like to travel into it. So I guess I want them to feel that too - a large size can help.
NB: Is there a point where you know a painting is finished? People always ask me this question in relation to my own paintings. Do you just abandon a work at one point or is it difficult to know when something is completed?
LK: I know when it’s completed but I don’t have a formula for this. When I have a failure I attack to destroy it but with the best intentions.
NB: Where would you like to see your life 10 years from now? Or are you more of a person who likes to live in the moment and take everything day by day?
LK: I am for sure a day by day moment by moment terrible at planning person...(laughs) WM
Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023.
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