Since moving to New York in 1998, Leah Tinari has painted moments from her life, surrounded by friends and family. Each piece documents a celebration and functions as part of a festive visual diary. While the characters depicted are quite specific, the sentiments evoked by them are universally shared.
With each piece, Tinari begins with a photograph. Like most people, she tends to use her camera on the most rowdy and uplifting occasions. Parties and vacations, in particular, inspire the most exciting documentation. For anyone who has followed her work, recurring characters and places (Key West, for instance) become familiar. And, while her characters are growing up, their actions feel overwhelmingly young and playful. These are not moments of maturity, but rather scenes that evoke a sense of eternal fun, even in adulthood.
In the past, Tinari’s figures floated on raw canvas or paper, creating a location-less expanse for ritual activities and shared experiences. Over time, however, she began to methodically fill the space to a point of complete saturation. For this body of work, Tinari has again let the canvas show through. Now, her characters exist in a void with abstract elements resembling poured liquid or bubbles. In this way, Tinari acknowledges both her medium and subject matter without making either so specific that they exclude multiple narratives.