Abigal Leach born in May 1972, Johannesburg. My grandmother, an art teacher, taught me to paint from a young age. I studied art at Johannesburg Art, Ballet and Music School. Completed a diploma in Graphic Design from AAA Advertising College. Worked in advertising as a graphic designer. From 2009 to 2011 some of my paintings were exhibited at Studio Gesso in Melville and Isis Gallery in Rosebank. In 2013 The Blue Hour chose two of my paintings for its print anthology.

I’m drawn to surrealism, without being formal about it. The surrealism in my more recent work developed naturally from a need to tell more idiosyncratic, essential stories; I get to tell a big chunk of a story that way, a rich affecting image can be created with symbolism. I love that kind of work, always drawing me right in. The series titled “Lonely Pictures” looks at people from a slight distance conveying the weight of their circumstance. The weight of other people is something we all carry in some way, I think. “Lonely Pictures” observes how the external world affects individuals, with all the crap, isolation and atomization that comes from the ironically very connected world. After Lonely Pictures I started painting from a different point of view. How the internal makeup of all things that affects all humans in turn affects the world around us.

Whether it is sex, gender, love, death, anger, race, drugs, climate devastation, politics, money or power, everybody struggles with something. What it means to be human drives me; it’s existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre, the famous existentialist, wrote something like, “True philosophy is a systematic, purifying reflection at the end of which is the beginning of existential psychoanalysis.” Existential psychoanalysis and its kind friend existential humanism are great ideas in which to find inspiration. They include the psychology, philosophy, danger, failings, fears, and ultimately the reasonableness that allows me to put things in perspective. My work is sometimes personal, sometimes more observational, and sometimes both.

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