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Small Figure #277 by Katja Leibenath

archival print of an original painting
printed on 100% cotton rag archival paper
12 x 12 inches
hand signed & numbered edition of 30

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Katja Leibenath​ San Francisco

Katja Leibenath was born and raised in Germany. She moved to San Francisco, California, in 2001, where she joined a large artist studio community and started painting in 2007.

Always observant and reflective, her work is highly responsive to location, her subjects have therefore been distinctively Californian: vast landscapes, contemplative resting figures, and the built environment. Manifested in extensive ongoing alternating series, the powerful influence of the Bay Area Figurative School can be felt in much of her work, however, valuing autonomy and being stubborn, she is seeing what they saw, and proceeds to expertly make the traditional into her own.

Leibenath finds great satisfaction in balancing complex color combinations within a changing set of shapes and parameters for months. She always works on numerous canvases at once, and on all of them, no matter the size, over long periods of time. The struggle is visible in paint buildup and the many colors and textures that show when examining her surfaces in changing light. There are never accidents, only carefully preserved encounters on her canvases, all of them part of a constant exercise in holding on and letting go, and the promise of never trying to be superficially precious. Committed to her vision, her subjects often refuse to please the audience and will put “awkward” above “elegant” almost every time.

Leibenath formally trained for two years as a furniture maker in Germany and received a BA in Interior Architecture from the Peter Behrens School of Architecture in Duesseldorf, Germany. Her paintings are part of public and private collections internationally. She now spends her time between San Francisco, California, and Pirmasens, Germany, where she also established an art studio in 2020.