The work I create first originates as a response to sites and objects that are ignored such as piles of trash, alleyways, overpasses or abandoned structures. In most instances the locations that I have shot in are not desirable travel destinations, are generally working class and are in industrial areas. This type of space has a personal resonance for me as I grew up in a very similar location in New England. I have a strong emotional connection, knowledge and familiarity with this kind of locality and want to document it in all of its poignant beauty.
As well, transitory space more accurately documents the mood of a place than public space that can be sterile and lifeless. Transitory spaces have a messy human energy that is always in the present. In such sites time passing is at its most beautiful as individuals or groups try to make a fragile mark on their surrounding. I’m not interested in transitory spaces for political reasons. I simply find them endlessly interesting, alive spaces where there is a great deal of beauty, fragility and human striving. They are temporary monuments to the ephemeral nature of human existence.
Leah Oates’ work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad. Her most recent solo show called “Transitory Space” was exhibited at A4L Gallery in New York, NY in 2006. From 2002 to 2004 her “PARADURA” series proved to be solo show worthy at seven spaces that included, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL; Sara Nightingale Gallery in Watermill, NY; A Taste of Art Gallery in New York, NY; Henry Street Settlement in New York, NY; Real Artways-Real Room in Hartford, CT; and at the Sol Mednick Gallery at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. For the end of 2006, Oates will be participating at a group show called “Logistics of Space” at the Pool Art Fair in Miami Beach, FL.. Her work has been shown in several New York arts fairs including Photo NY 2006 with Peer Gallery and AAF Contemporary Art Fair 2006 and 2005 with a Taste of Art Gallery. In 2007, Oates has groups shows at About Glamour Gallery in New York, VAST Arts in Texas, New Jersey Center for the Visual Arts and The University of West Florida Art Gallery.
In addition her photographic work and works on paper are in numerous public collections including The Tate, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The MoMA Franklin Furnace Archive, The Victoria & Albert, The Walker Art Center, Kohler Art Library, Getty Research Institute, The British Library, The National Museum of Women in the Arts & The Yale University Arts Library. Oates’s photography has been featured in several films, “The Forgotten” staring Julianne Moore, “Little Children” with Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly, and in the upcoming film, “Perfect Strangers” staring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. Her work will soon be featured on the set of a television pilot starring Brooke Shields.
Her work can be viewed at www.leahoates.com