Artist StatementI am a photographer of landscape, both natural, and that created by human habitation. There is a long tradition in the artistic portrayal of landscape. While I am rooted in that tradition, my approach is not traditional. The unusual look of my photographs is created by the use of a glass sphere. Put simply, I use a hollow glass ball. It is about twelve inches round and made of clear blown glass. I do not directly photograph the landscape. I photograph its reflection on the glass surface; the environments behind and below the sphere create additional layers of imagery. For my Nature Portraits I insert my subject into the ball and the environment becomes its background. When doing a photo shoot, I choose a location that I think will produce interesting distortions. It could be a garden, a beach, or a friends yard. Once I am there, I set up my “glass studio” on the ground and begin exploring potential images. I move my body and camera around while looking through the viewfinder. In this work, I have shunned computer manipulation in favor of manipulating light and reflection, before it reaches my camera. I strive for a dreamlike quality, and a sense of timelessness.
Cathy Leaycraft was born in New York City and raised mostly in the Philadelphia area. Her mother frequently took her to art galleries as she was growing up. Her paternal grandmother was an artist in Woodstock, NY, where Ms. Leaycraft visited in the summer.
She spent many hours in the Philadelphia Art Museum where her favorite artists were surrealists like Dali and artistic vanguards like Duchamp.
In the 70’s Leaycraft discovered her medium, photography. She began experimenting with Color Xerox copy machines and eventually became noted for her complex collage images constructed in Photoshop. It was in 1981 that Ms. Leaycraft first met and studied with photographer Duane Michals. He opened her eyes to the use of photography as a unique form of personal artistic expression.
Ms. Leaycraft received her first solo exhibition in1982 at the Plastic Image Gallery in Boston. In 1991 she was invited to do a one person show at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York.
Her current work developed out of a need to simplify. Although the images themselves are extremely complex, their creation is very simple and direct, requiring no computer manipulation. They are perfectly straight, unaltered photographs, taken of reflections in a glass ball. Leaycraft travels to public and private gardens placing the ball in well considered locations.
Ms. Leaycraft’s work is held in many public and private collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum, and the MOMA. She has exhibited widely and received many grants and awards including the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award.