Paintings by Lynn Leland
Born in Buffalo, New York in 1937, Lynn Leland studied at the Pratt Institute and Hunter College in New York, and continued his studies at the University of Delaware, where he achieved a Master’s Degree in Art History. After graduation, Leland worked as a dean of students at the New School in Manhattan. Awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 1961 to study in Europe, he attended the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, where he studied under the Scottish sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, widely considered as one of the pioneers of pop art.
Active in the art scene of 1960s New York, Leland exhibited his work at the A. M. Sachs Gallery and at the Simon Preston Gallery on the Lower East Side. On the recommendation of Metropolitan Museum of Art curator and historian Henry Geldzahler, Leland’s work was included in the influential exhibition “The Responsive Eye” held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965. This exhibition of one hundred twenty-five works, employing geometry and theories of perception and color, was organized by MoMA curator William Seitz and became one of the museum’s most popular shows at the time.
Lynn Leland’s work was also included in many group exhibitions, including the Brooklyn Museum Biennial in 1960, the “Optics and Kinetics” exhibition at Ohio University in 1965, “Multiplicity” at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art in 1966, and the “Harry Abrams Collection” exhibition in 1966 at the Jewish Museum in New York’s Upper East Side.
Leland’s artwork included abstract color compositions, wood block prints, watercolor paintings, landscape paintings and photography. Based partially on his interest in contemporary musical composition, Leland’s abstract work throughout the 1960s remained focused on the optical effect of ordered grids of colored circles. Becoming disillusioned with the art market by the early 1970s, he stopped entering exhibitions and focused on a career in the art education field..
Lynn Leland had a full career as a public school art educator in the New York City public school system, teaching art to junior high school students from the 1970s to 1990s. Upon his retirement, he moved to El Paso, Texas where he continued to pursue his interests in photography and painting, and exhibited his work locally. He was a member of the El Paso Art Association and the Photography Enthusiasts of El Paso. In order to be near his son Kipp Leland’s family, Lynn Leland moved to Helllertown, Pennsylvania, where he later passed away in 2019.