Gary Leib Named Artist-in-Residence

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This year’s Artist-in-Residence was artist Gary Leib. He presented a public lecture on Feb. 3 in the Ruth Ann Musick Library and, that evening, at the opening reception for his exhibition in Brooks Gallery in Wallman Hall, Leib gave another talk about his work, which included drawings, free-standing pieces, ceramic pieces (in collaboration with Jeff Greenham) and animated videos.

Gary Leib has won wide praise for his work as an animator and cartoonist, including a 1994 Harvey nomination for his comic book "Idiotland," a two-man anthology co-created by Leib and Doug Allen that ran for seven issues from 1993-1994. The two collaborated on a number of stories in the fund-raising anthology comic "Legal Action Comics," volume 1, published in 2001.

Leib’s illustrations and cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, Musician Magazine, The New York Observer, Raw, Blab and as weekly features in The New York Press for many years. Leib, together with Allen, was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated band Rubber Rodeo, which recorded two albums for Mercury Records. He has also created original music for independent and feature films, including the 1987 film "Ironweed" starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Leib also designed a popular line of promotional toys for The Hershey Company.

Leib created his animation studio Twinkle in 1993.  It has produced animation and titles for film, TV series, music videos and web sites.  Since 2008, Leib has created a series of short animations, accompanied by jazz selections, about New York City, which are hosted on the New York Times web site.

Leib is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and has taught in the graduate computer animation program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

Regarding Leib’s work in Brooks Gallery, consisting of videos, figurative work and drawings on ceramic pieces by Jeff Greenham, curator Marian Hollinger observed: “Most children want to be one major 'thing,' when they are growing up: an artist, a cartoonist, a musician, a filmmaker. Gary Leib is fortunate enough to have done all of those things . He has been a part of a Grammy-nominated band, Rubber Rodeo, a successful cartoonist and now a videographer. And all of that is a result of his hard work and ability to draw. Leib is also a very canny social critic, showing the viewers a view of the art world— complete with docents to serve as guides through the exhibition— and a nod toward the history of art itself. The ceramic vessels refer quite directly to the tradition of Greek shapes and combination of narrative and technical virtuosity.  Look at the vessels; enjoy the figures engaged in their own world, just as a viewer of Greek pottery from the fifth century BCE would have done. Their art was based upon their mythology, as Leib’s is based upon his.  In his artist’s presentation to the public and in his short gallery talk at the opening of the current exhibition, Leib made it clear that it has been his ability to draw (he does it all the time, in notebook after notebook) and his willingness to take on any new technology necessary to accept offers of work, that have made the difference in his career. He is most definitely NOT an artist who waits for inspiration to hit before he takes up his pencil. He creates his own inspiration during the process of working.”