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The Magnificent Ladies of the Pando Exhibition by Lori Leachman

August 29, 2021 @ 2:00 pm – October 10, 2021 @ 4:00 pm
Kenan Center, House Gallery
433 Locust St Lockport
NY 14094

The Magnificent Ladies of the Pando Exhibition by Lori Leachman

Considered one of the forty wonders of the world, The Pando is a 106 acre forest of genetically identical, male Aspen trees that reproduce asexually through the root system. As a result of climate change and other disruptions, the trees are experiencing a failure to thrive. Since the forest lacks genetic diversity, it relies on diversity across ages to ensure a flourishing, healthy forest. The Magnificent Ladies of the Pando are artist Lori Leachman’s tribute to The Pando Forest. They are the complement to the male reality. They are the ladies that will save the day and help repair the forest!

Kenan House Gallery Hours

Monday-Friday, Noon–4 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 2-4pm
The gallery will be closed on September 4-6, September 25 & October 2, 2021.
Appointment required for all visits. Please call 716.433.2617 to schedule your visit or tour. No admission; $5 donation is greatly appreciated.

Opening Reception
Sunday, August 29, 2021 from 2-4pm (masks required for all).

Speaking Engagement

Lori Leachman Author & Artist Speaking Engagement
Sunday, October 3rd, 1-3PMin Taylor Theater Meeting Room
$8 Kenan Center Members l $10 Kenan Center Non-Members
Masks required for all. Reservations Recommended.
Painting is not Leachman’s only talent. Lori tells the story of a life in football from a daughter’s perspective in: The King of Halloween and Miss Firecracker Queen.  It provides an intimate look at one family’s rise through the ranks of competitive football—from player to high school, then college coaching; followed by coaching in the WFL, CFL, and NFL, and ultimately to Super Bowl champions. It also chronicles the family’s struggle to deal with and understand the decline of the father who was at the center of this lifestyle from CTE.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Lori Leachman Artist Biography

I have always dabbled in art. Early on I had some success working in collage and acrylic by being juried in to shows where Joyce Tenneson, Peta Coyne, and Maria Magdalena Compos Pons where the jurors. However, I did not intentionally embark on a career as an artist until I turned fifty. At that time, I realized that my life was passing and I had not gotten to a number of things on my life’s To Do List. So, I took a sabbatical from my professional career as an economics professor at Duke University, and took a painting class.

The class I took was a portrait painting class with Beverly McIver. As per her requirements, all painting was executed in oil, a medium I had always stayed away from. I realized very quickly that the lusciousness of oil was what I had always been striving for in my preceding work. And, while portraits are no longer my preferred subjects, the drawing and precision required for portrait painting provided an excellent training and discipline.

Shortly after completing the class, I gave myself the task of painting nothing but fruits and vegetable for the next year. Two series evolved from that: “Onions Make Me Cry” and “Tangerines in Winter.” Those two series lead to two local shows in the following two years.

After my fruits and vegetable year, I began to paint the western landscape. I have had a home in Sedona, Arizona for almost twenty years now, and have always been turned on by the raw beauty of the place, and quality of the light. My first significant series to develop from my focus on landscapes was “Western Blooms”; a series of cacti paintings derived from what I was seeing in the Sonoran Desert and Verde Valley. A show of that work quickly followed.

As I was painting cacti, I came to realize that what appealed to me most was vibrant color and gnarly textures. The layering of the red onions had these qualities, as did the skin and flowers of the cacti. I am drawn to the wild, often off-putting beauty of things. This realization has lead me to focus on nature in general, and things found in the western outdoors more specifically. A number of series and shows have resulted from this interest; “Sonoran Sunrise/Sunset,” “Up the Creek,” and most recently, “Outside My Window.”

While working on these last two series, I began what became “The Magnificent Ladies of the Pando” work you see here. The inspiration came from a winter walk in the Aspen forest west of Flagstaff, Arizona. I was captivated by the bark of these regal, yet fragile trees. I began to research these trees and their properties, and came across The Pando. That was it; I was hooked. I spent the last three years preceding 2020 painting this body of work.

During this period, I decided there would be great value added to including some actual 3 dimensional trees to the exhibition. To that end, I began designing a small forest. My partner, Andy Farber, works in metal; so he fabricated the trees, and I painted them to reflect the nature of the trees in the paintings. If you look closely, you will notice that the tree bases fit together like a puzzle. This feature is intended to reflect the root system of the Pando, which is the channel through which they reproduce asexually.

With “The Magnificent Ladies of the Pando” series, I hope to inspire those who see it to reconnect with nature. Moreover, I hope that inspiration will lead to a renewed commitment to the environment and greater respect for the fragile ecosystem in which we live.

More Information about the Exhibition

The Pando (Latin for ‘I spread’) is a forest of Aspen trees in Fishlake National Forest at the western edge of the Colorado Plateau, in Utah. It is 106 acres of genetically identical, male Aspen tress. The trees reproduce asexually through the root system. These features make the Pando the largest single living organism on the planet. And, like much of the natural world, the Pando is under stress.

The Pando is considered one of the forty wonders of the world. It was first discovered in 1968 and has been under observation since that time. In the last decade, the forest has begun to experience a failure to thrive. This situation is the result of climate change, grazing by cattle and deer mules, and human disruption to the forest. Since the forest lacks genetic diversity, it relies on diversity across ages to ensure a flourishing, healthy forest. Climate, animal and human threats have combined to create a situation where young trees are not sprouting, or are being eaten and trampled before they can gain a robust foothold in the forest.

The Magnificent Ladies of the Pando you see here are my tribute to The Pando Forest. They are the complement to the male reality. They are the ladies that will save the day and help repair the forest! A recent climate study (NYT 7/5/19) suggested that if the planet were to add an additional 2.5 billion acres of forest, the tress would store an additional 200 gigatons of carbon. This will not reverse climate change, but is clearly part of the solution to climatic instability.

The Ladies of the Pando that you see here are dancing and undulating in all manner of daylight and season. They are dressed (with leaves) and undressed, alone and in groups. They are a tribute to the raw beauty and wonder to found in nature. They are magnificent in their gnarly, exotic ‘skin.’ They are rushing to our recue.

To facilitate that recue, 5% of all sales will be donated to the Western Aspen Alliance, a non-profit facilitating effective and appropriate management of Aspen ecosystems in Western North America.


2021 Gallery Exhibit Sponsors

Grigg Lewis Foundation, Kenan Arts Council, Kenan Quilters’ Guild, M&T Bank, William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, Mr. & Mrs. Samuel F. Ward

For weather related closing information please click here.

Kenan Center is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.