My life, as both a photographer and painter, is an obsessive examination of humanity within the context of intimate settings.
Exploring the private drama of humans is endlessly fascinating to me and laden with boundless storytelling possibilities.
I use an array of visual language and painting styles to convey my ideas and feelings. Part of my creative process is to challenge myself technically. The challenges include painting pace, color mixing and material choice. I paint using bright, vibrating colors, promising a pleasurable connection. Upon closer scrutiny, however, ambiguous and ominous imagery require the observer to look beyond the cheerful palette to decipher a deeper meaning.
Within my art, I examine deeply private states of being, often hidden even from ourselves. Threaded throughout the bodies of work are themes of vulnerability, interdependence, desire and envy, challenging the viewer to confront emotions and experiences that otherwise would remain buried beneath the façade of everyday life.
The surfaces of these paintings appear bright and cheerful with simplistic child-like imagery. Upon closer inspection, a darker drama is implied.
The domestic narrative paintings are drawn from specific scenes I’ve witnessed in both my own and friend’s families. The horror and humor of domestic life is revealed as abstracted organic shapes, meant to represent specific characters engaged in a larger narrative. The title hints at a possible story for the viewer to imagine.
Presented as portraits, these gouache paintings were made quickly, each in a single day. A friend and I challenged ourselves to make a painting every day for 30 days.
The works probe our inner, submerged states of being. They enact dramas both real and imagined. The paintings are suspended between surreal and cartoonish alluding to both whimsy and fright.
This body of work was started as a painting-a-day challenge, each small painting completed in a single day. They are painted from photographs I made by asking friends and families to open their mouths. Surprisingly, very few resisted.
This series draws on the genre of landscape painting exploring themes of human need and interdependence.
This work was done during the COVID-19 pandemic, when our well-being was dependent on the behavior of strangers while we were simultaneously thrown into near constant contact with our immediate families. The pandemic highlighted our broad interdependence of the global community. I aspire to expose our intense human interdependency in these works.
Drawing on the genre of portraiture, the Guardian series are a whimsical blend of human, plant and insect figures presented as nearly life-size portraits.
These paintings were inspired by my secret desire to protect my teenage son during his tumultuous senior year doing high school on Zoom from his bed, isolated from anything resembling normalcy due to Covid. Two of the paintings hung on each side of my son’s bedroom door for over a year. He’s thriving now, so it must have worked!
Leslie Barton grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. After studying pre-med at University of Nebraska in Lincoln, she began to travel extensively around the world. After 28 moves, she landed in Los Angeles, where she continued her career as a photographer, founding what grew to be one of LA’s premier event photography businesses. During this time, she produced a Black & White art book entitled The Bride Revealed, published by Andrews McNeel.
In 2010, Leslie decided to further her creative education and study painting, earning her degree in studio arts at UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture, graduating magna cum laude. Her prior experience working as a documentary photographer is fundamental to her ability to observe small, intimate details of human behavior. These observations inform each body of work she produces. Leslie has exhibited in both group and solo shows in the United States and France.
2012 Independent study with artist, Benjamin Britton
2011 Graduated from UCLA School of Arts and Architecture
2011 Studied painting with Lari Pittman and Roger Herman and photography with Cathy Opie.
2007-2009 Studied advanced painting at UCLA Extension
2008 Studied painting and color theory with Marie Thibeault
2006 Artists residency, Painters Edge, Idyllwild California
2003-2008 Independent study with artists, Lisa Adams and Renee Amitai
1976-80 Studied Photography and Liberal Arts, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
1986-current Freelance photographer working throughout the USA & Mexico.
Photographed news, sports, editorial, events, and personal fine art projects.
Photo by Orit Harpaz.
2019 Catalogue for Gallery 825 Los Angeles
2005 ‘The Bride Revealed ‘Published by Andrews McMeel
Photographs by Leslie Barton – Text by Sheri Myers
2022 Three Person Show at AndLand, The Brewery, Los Angeles
2021 Two person show The Met DTLA
2020 Solo Show at Metro 417, DTLA
2019 Group Show Gallery 825 Los Angeles
2011 Solo Show, Undergrad Gallery, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
2010 Group Show, New Wight Gallery, UCLA, Los Angeles
2008 Group Show, Five Continents, Paris France
2006 Group Show, Art 16, China Town, Los Angeles, CA
2006 Group Show, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA
2006 Group Show, Idyllwild Arts, Idyllwild CA
2006 Solo show, UK, Beverly Hills, CA
2005 Group Show, MP Studio, Culver City, CA
2004 Group show, Two Babes in the Woods, Idyllwild, CA
1991 Group show, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago IL
1990 Group show, Sunprint Gallery, Madison Wisconsin
Elena and Joe Wolek, Los Angeles, CA
Renee Fellinger, Seattle, WA
Isabel and Lawrence Gund, Los Angeles, CA
Herb and Barbara Leshnick, Malibu, CA
Los Angeles Jewish Community Center
Maureen Murphy, Santa Monica, CA
Mario Rivera, Palm Springs, CA
Stephanie Savage, Los Angeles, CA
Pete and Elizabeth Anthony, Bozeman, MT
Stephanie Savage, Hollywood, CA