FROM KOLAJ 31
Patricia Leeds Uses Collage to Deconstruct Whiteness and Patriarchy
The idea for Patricia Leeds’ “Just for the Record” series came to the artist a number of years ago when she got a copy of the Taschen book, Mid-Century Ads by Jim Heimann and Steven Heller. “At first, I found these ads to be hilarious: doctors recommending cigarettes, DDT in babies’ cribs, and a wife’s intimate neglect and what it leads to,” said Leeds. “Looking more closely, I realized the impacts and influences these ads had on our society, not just then but also today.”
Leeds remixes these advertisements. “She removes these images and messages from the realm of advertising where a product is being sold and places them in the realm of art where we are asked to consider meaning and context,” writes Ric Kasini Kadour writes about the series in Kolaj #31. “She is using collage to deconstruct culture.”
Media maintains whiteness in a number of ways: Media limits the representation of non-white people. Norman Rockwell, one of the best known illustrators of the 20th century, rarely depicted non-white people; in part because his employer, The Saturday Evening Post, had editorial policy forbidding the portrayal of non-white people. When non-white people were represented, they were done so in proscribed fashion. The exception to The Saturday Evening Post’s rule was that one could show non-white people in servile positions. For much of the 20th century, Black people were only permitted on some media if they were an entertainer, an athlete, or a caricature of what white people thought a Black person should be.
Patricia Leeds considers herself “mostly self-taught” and her mediums of choice are encaustic, oil paint, and photography, including non-traditional photography. Leeds worked as a commercial photographer for over 25 years. Her work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions. She is a member of the International Encaustic Association, Women in Photography Northern California, and of the exhibition team at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. The artist lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at www.patricialeedsart.com.