John Leben’s formal training is in traditional painting and printmaking. He has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has studied at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Northern Maine. His work has always focused on technology, first as a subject, but now as the medium. His computer is his medium. He paints his pictures wielding powerful painting programs with skill and panache, instilling his pictures with a unique, and oddly nostalgic aura. His pictures are paintings, created line by line, color by color, using an expressive brushstroke and a bold use of color.
The finished paintings, digital images in his computer, become the printing plates. From these “plates” he pulls archival-quality, limited edition prints using Epson inkjet technology and pigment-based inks on acid-free, rag-based watercolor paper. The result: museum-quality prints with fade resistance of up to 200 years, rivaling all traditional printmaking media for longevity.
But the pictures, not the technique, are the stars of this show. Bold, painterly renderings using surrealistic imagery, fantasy and humor to comment on pressing environmental challenges.