Leslie Samuels

(USA, 1963-2018)

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"Leslie Samuels’ accompanying installation is the vision of a vague dream. Though a powerful, visceral experience, it only hints at a more substantive cause.

“Silent Death, Invisible Weapons” occupies a small, separate room entered through a doorway of heavy, draped velvet. Instantly, the space identifies itself as a metaphor for the co-mingling of life and death. Ten small, live finches sweep down from the netted ceiling onto one of two glass shelves covered with odd, wax-encased glass bottles filled with berries, shells, peppers, keys and shell casings. A horse skeleton arranged like a human on its back with legs spread lies embedded in fine sand on the gallery floor. Bird seed fills its chest cavity and a small dish of water nestles in its pelvis. The birds, fluttering impatiently from shelf to ceiling, seem to be trapped innocents, but, like vultures, they feed off another creature’s carcass.

Though the intent of Samuels’ installation remains elusive, it has a mesmerizing potency: It is a charged space, rich with suggestions of animist ritual and subtle sources of power."

Leah Ollman, LA Times, August 12, 1992.

Venue: Rita Dean Gallery, San Diego
Organizer: Rita Dean Gallery