"In art, as in life, at some point we must let go of control. Willingly jumping into chaos and waiting for unknown outcomes can be scary and yet exhilarating. More often than not, we learn new things about our work, our relationships and our lives."
Since graduating from the Ontario College of Design's Drawing and Painting program, Dutch-born Toronto artist Elsha Leventis has been inspired by the intricate landscape of the iris. Her research has included observing slides in a hospital ophthalmology laboratory and exploring cell biology, iris recognition technology and mandalas. Her work is informed by pointillism, Ken Noland's circle paintings, Jasper Johns's targets, and Ross Bleckner's organic abstracts.
Adapting a watercolour technique, Elsha attempts to capture both the landscape of the iris and the effects of light as seen through the eye. Working playfully wet into wet, she lays down thin washes of oil mixed with mediums and then drops in or subtracts paint to capture light effects. Initially, she imposes control but must soon submit to letting go as the paint takes on a life of its own. As the work unfolds, there are interesting and unexpected results, and "mistakes" often lead to exciting new discoveries in technique or process.
Elsha's work has been exhibited at the Artist Project in both Toronto and New York, Toronto Art Expo, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, the Interior Design Show and other venues. Her paintings have also appeared in Princess Margaret Hospital's lottery homes (Oakville and Vancouver), Style at Home and Canadian House and Home and on design shows on HGTV, including Income Property and the Marilyn Dennis Show. Her work is represented by Canvas Gallery and PI Fine Art in Toronto, In2Art in Oakville, Viva Vida Gallery in Montreal, and Deljou Art Group in the United States. She works out of her studio in the historic Distillery District.