My photography pays homage to my early childhood in Northern Michigan, its visual images and memories. I have renewed and extended my fascination with these shapes through my images. I have discovered new connections between the land and water. I am a firm believer that art is a collaborative work between the audience and the image, and art happens somewhere in the space between. I prefer not to bias observers with whimsical or abstract titles. This seems to me this limits the art’s power to be something different for each person—instead of letting the image speak for itself.
My wish is for you to see these images as other than what they seem to represent. The images of doors are not just doors. The images of cars are not just cars. The images of boats are not just boats. All of these images are abstractions to one degree or another. The images came from a part of me that works unconsciously, a part that reaches down into my memories. They come from that private part of me and I hope that it will touch that part of you as well.
I remember the first time I spotted a Leona Webb photograph approximately ten years ago in an Ann Arbor Gallery Shop. In one of her works it was astonishing to behold the spatial relationship she had caught with her camera—a rusting truck with all this positive space around it except there was a clean line cut by a fence in the background. It was a remarkable study she made.
I have worked as a special collections library curator since 1990 and have extensive experience with historical photography. If you spend much of the day looking at photographs, you develop what I call the intuitive eye. If an image immediately pulls you into it, you generally discover all these nuances and details in the succeeding moments after your initial gaze. Leona Webb’s photographs meet this test. Her eye discerns what will compel the viewer of the photograph at a point in the future—that time/space element so essential to photographic art.
Of course, to create such images the photographer must be technically proficient and her body of work speaks to this proficiency. Finally, her subjects resonate across a broad and diverse audience, and can be appreciated by those connoisseurs with sophisticated tastes. Because of all the qualifies above, I included examples of Leona Webb’s work in several exhibits I curated at the Detroit Public Library when I was the Coordinator for Special Collections there.
|Mark A. Patrick
Managing Librarian and Archivist
I would like to express my opinion of the abilities of Leona Webb, as a practicing artist, and salon photographer. My opinion is based upon my education as a graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and graduate study in design, and urban planning. Photography was included in my studies, as well as many hours of practice. I have been a practicing designing for over 40 years.
Leona Webb’s work in salon photography has demonstrated a rapid growth in technical ability, and a natural talent at the art of photography, which probably could be applied to other art forms. I have watched her work from the start, and it has never been amateurish or clumsy. She learned the mechanics of the camera quickly, and always took technically good pictures. More importantly she is able to see what she wants to photograph, and get it on film the way she sees it. She is able to pick details from the whole that are interesting and artistic, and compose them in the picture. She selects interesting objects of parts of objects or textures or shapes that would not readily be noticed, and calls your attention to them.
She utilizes a large variety of subject matter, and treats it more as form or design than what it actually is in context. Leona has a natural sense of design, and composition. There is not a predictable feeling to her work. It can range from very strong dramatic presentations to very subtle and light interpretations. She treats the presentation of her work with as much concern and care as she does the subject matter. The matting and framing she selects are attractive, and complementary to the work and subject. The frequency of awards, sale of her work, and the requests to show demonstrate that she is becoming known and recognized as a successful professional artist. I look forward to your future work.
|Robert B. Garbutt
Garbutt Associates, Inc.
Leona Webb’s photographs have been included in several exhibitions at work.detroit, the University of Michigan School of Art & Design’s gallery space in Detroit’s Midtown corridor.
She is skilled at creating and preserving engaging visual narrative in a range of photographic approaches. The black and white works she has shown in the gallery are among my personal favorites. One of these images, an abandoned train depot in northern Michigan, offered a well- crafted, historical, almost eerie snapshot of deep richness.
Her attraction to historical topic, and dedication to craft and presentation have made Webb’s photographs a welcome inclusion in the creative dialogue offered here at work.detroit.
|Stephen William Schudlich
Director of Exhibitions/work.detroit
Director of Exhibitions/Intersections
University of Michigan School of Art & Design