Leah Kosh

Lisa Harris Gallery, Seattle
August 7 - 31

Communion #4: Prairie Falcon (1996),

WITHIN A CYCLE of references, Seattle painter Leah Kosh continues to work with images of women and birds, although does not care to be known as a fledgling Audubon and is quick to point out that her creative development and content are not linear but rather evolve from a variety of points of view. Kosh frequently does use birds (for their shapes and colour) and other exotic animals, patterns and decoration in conjunction with female portraiture as 'visual aids' in conveying a reevaluation of feminine attributes that probably pre-date patriarchal religious practices and tie in with both environmentalist and Native American religious practices. Such intimations are primordial rather than political, and Kosh graphically projects a "Peaceable Kingdom" in which not only do the lions lie down with the lambs, but humankind lies down in some more reasonable way with the other sensate species. Since womankind has already demonstrably spearheaded the civil rights and peace movements in many parts of the world, it is not unthinkable that they will as well intuitively press for peace with the Earth.

It hasn't been that long since women were "witches" and animals were "familiars." What all this has to do with "art" is the same as what "art" has to do with an intensely lived life and an acute consciousness. Impelled by what crucially matters to her, Kosh creates compellingly enigmatic and mystical constructs which reflect a shamanic mindset in contemporary art.

© Ted Lindberg