Mary Ann Leff
Living most of my adult life in Berkeley, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Fortunate enough to have had easy access to the Carnegie Museum, I remember Saturday mornings wandering the old building with a sense of awe, seeing for the first time Van Goghs, Matisses, and Monets, and experiencing what it felt like to be stirred by composition and color. I remember the essay I wrote in middle school about my fingers “itching” to paint.
I attended Carnegie Mellon University throughout high school for pre-college classes and then for my undergraduate degree. I have been a working artist for over 50 years.
For most of my career I painted medium to large scale abstract acrylic paintings. In the last decade, however I have been working with a broader range of techniques and mixed media including encaustic, oil stick, graphite, iridescent and metallic paints, acrylic mediums and water-based pencils and crayons focusing on building highly textured and layered surfaces. This focus on texture is perhaps a result of my own maturing, aging, and experiences that have shown me that texture and subtlety are what add richness, nuance, and depth to life—as well as to art.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, images of houses, shelters, lifelines, ladders, escape boats and vessels (large enough to hold the intensity of this time) have crept into my work.
My work has been exhibited in art fairs and galleries, in invited and juried shows, in online shows. It has been on the cover of the Japanese edition of Multicultural Encounters, has been published in Artists of the Bay Area and American Art Collector, and is in many private collections.