I grew up on the north shore of Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating from Mass College of Art, I moved to Upstate New York to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology. I earned my MFA degree, then worked as an art instructor, graphic designer and painter. My spread-out family has kept me traveling between the east and west coasts and many points in between. These travels keep me acutely aware of environmental issues in different locations. All that I experience inspires me to use a wide range of materials and techniques to communicate my ideas about people, the environment, and the stuff we throw away. While my work can be seen on this website, additional pieces can be seen in person at my Buffalo studio in the TriMain Center, 2495 Main Street, Buffalo, NY.
Curator's Statement, Chris Battaglia, CFAC
Buffalo-based artist, Elizabeth Leader, has a strong affinity for the places and objects that most of us pass on the street without even a glance. For Leader, the blank windows of an abandoned house or a discarded and dirty child’s toy are simply pieces of a story that has been lost in time. Her work takes on the task of gathering these pieces from the past and stitches them back together. In doing so, she simultaneously assumes the roles of historian, urban explorer, and social commentator.
By combining discarded elements of our consumer culture and pairing the objects with photographs of abandoned home and businesses, Leader sets before us the bitter truth of our often-fragile economy and constantly shifting desires for the next and greatest thing. In many cases she must hunt out this truth in the hidden or forgotten places within our urban landscape. She travels to these empty but not always uninhabited spaces, like an archaeologist exploring the crumbling ruins of a long vanished society. The irony of these expeditions is not lost on Leader given that she often sets foot in places that were thriving homes, shops, and factories only a few years or decades ago. This helps to explain the style in which she works and why she chooses to juxtapose elements like found objects against images of the places she has visited. What Leader proves with all of this is that there is still a lot of life left in the objects that our society has otherwise cast aside.