Leah Piepgras

Originally from St. Antonio, Texas, Leah holds a BFA in sculpture from Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Trained in sculpture and performance art, Leah has turned her talent to painting and holds an impressive record of exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

Her recent solo show at the Winfisky Gallery in Salem exhibited her newest series of paintings entitled “Kalpa”, a Sanskrit word meaning an eon or a relatively long period of time in Buddhist and Hindu cosmology.


My chief concern as an artist is to make work that is visual philosophy, addressing the mysteries of our existence and asking questions about our different states of consciousness.  For me making work is about touching and feeling- physically through materials, mentally in space and memory.  It is about finding your way through an idea, in the hope of truly understanding. Based on cognitive science, physics, cosmology and paradox I try to ask questions that do not have answers but, by being asked, posit truths and answer in feelings and intuitions.   Art allows for accurate misunderstanding and room to not know.  It is in the state of “not knowing” that real understanding has space to occur. I think of my art as a tool to communicate; a tool that allows for new ways of seeing; a tool to disorient the perception of your physical self and surroundings and lead to new insights; a tool to really see.  For me, asking questions and making objects transforms the physical experience of being and captures intangible understanding, even if only for a fleeting moment.


Congratulations on your upcoming October solo exhibition GRIN Gallery in Providence, RI.

Thank you!  I am very excited about the new work I am making as it deals with the same ideas I just addressed in the paintings I had at Salem State University through installation and sculpture.

Before moving to Swampscott in 2004 you lived in Salem. What made you decide to move?

We decided to move to Swampscott after realizing how close we are to the ocean. This is a huge inspiration to me, the constant and always changing seascape. I try to walk along the beach as often as I can.

​You are mostly known for your paintings but you started in sculpture and performance. How did this transition come about?

​I moved to Salem shortly after our first child was born and I found that I only had a few hours in the day to create. At that point, painting was the only thing that fitted into my schedule and I started out with acrylic paints to avoid the smell of turpentine and oil in the house. I had to re-train myself in putting ideas that I had been working with in sculpture, installation, and performance, on a 2 dimensional surface. I am a totally self-taught painter and am where I am today largely from trial and error.  I try to be focused and strive to learn by looking at my work in a constructive and critical way.

Do you belong to any local Arts Association?

I am rather private about my work when I am making it, and have never felt the need to belong. I work from an unglamorous studio in my basement and don’t feel like the work really has a place to go here in town that makes sense.

​However, a Community Arts Center will be beneficial to our town, especially for our young artists and high school students that are looking for some feedback and a safe and inclusive place to create.  I have been involved with RAW Artworks in Lynn and at Marblehead Community Charter Public School, volunteering by teaching, and have really loved those experiences.


89 Burrill Street
Swampscott, MA 01907
Open Sundays 10-1


Information: info@reacharts.org

Press Inquiries: press@reacharts.org


© Copyright 2019 Arts Resources for the Town of Swampscott. All rights reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software