Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

440 Gallery announce Heartland an exhibition of abstract photography by Leigh Blanchard

BROOKLYN, NY – 440 Gallery is pleased to present Heartland, the Gallery’s third solo exhibition of Leigh Blanchard’s abstract photographs. Blanchard challenges the nature of photography by creatively capturing and manipulating images printed with pigmented inks on fine art paper. Examining the theme of family and creativity, Blanchard’s delicate yet bold photographs are directly and indirectly inspired by her grandmother’s paintings, which will be also be shown in the gallery.

Blanchard uses mechanistic tools, such as a camera and computer, to create her intimate yet subtle relationship with the viewer. She always begins with an emotional and visual source – in this collection, works by her grandmother, Jean Schneider Johnson, inspire her photographs. Blanchard’s process is improvisational: cutting, scanning, digitally manipulating and collaging her source materials until an aesthetic balance is reached. At first glance, the images could be abstract expressionist paintings. There is a duality to the images – they do not look like traditional photographs, but at the same time, the viewer is asked to reimagine what photography can be.

In this exhibition, viewers have the unusual opportunity to see the original inspiration alongside Blanchard’s interpretations. Both artists have very different styles – abstract expressionism for Blanchard and realism for Johnson. In Blanchard’s Grapes #3, the foreground is out of focus, as if you were too close to the image. Past this layer, you can see a form that’s difficult to pinpoint but feels oddly familiar. Comparatively, in Tedium: Iowa Sun, Iowa Corn, Johnson’s focal point is the husks of corn and the rising sun – both explicit. When seen together, Johnson’s realism only enhances the abstract nature of Blanchard’s work. In Blanchard’s photography, the hand is invisible while in Johnson’s paintings, the artist’s hand is part of the expression. Ironically, Johnson’s paintings are more realistic than the photographs.

Beyond the similar palette, there is an emotional sensitivity across Blanchard’s and Johnson’s work that evokes their family relationship. Blanchard has appropriated, consciously and unconsciously, from her grandmother’s work with a gentle touch that can be felt when seeing their work together.

“Celebrating creative expression, I am fascinated by the passion to create and how it runs in families. Just as children take certain traits from their parents, I’ve taken elements of my grandmother’s work and made it my own. This process has made me reflect on how traits — visual and conceptual — are passed down genetically. This is my opportunity for a multigenerational exhibition. It is a family tree of artwork.”

Born in Chicago, Blanchard graduated from the Parsons School of Design: The New School with a degree in photography. Blanchard currently lives and works in NYC. She has exhibited at various galleries, including at Milk Gallery, Site:Brooklyn and Gallery MC.

Born in Iowa, Jean Schneider Johnson is a self-taught artist who currently lives and works in her home state. Johnson has been painting and drawing since childhood and credits her father, Gottfried Schneider, for introducing her to the art world.

On view: February 22 – March 24, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 24, 4-6 pm

About 440 Gallery: 440 Gallery presents engaging art to the community through exhibitions, talks, readings and events centered around direct contact with the artist. Open Thursday, Friday 4-7pm, Saturday, Sunday 12-6pm, or by appointment. 440 Gallery is in Park Slope, convenient to the F, M, and R subways.

Contact: For press and sales inquiries, including interviews with our artists, please contact Amanda Brown, Gallery Director, at 718-499-3844; [email protected]. For more information on these shows, the exhibiting artists, and the gallery, go to our website at

Leigh Blanchard