Following an accident in my studio, I was relegated to bed – and thus began an incredible study of our relationship with the bed in all its visual, literary and narrative forms. More than a third of our life is spent in bed, yet rarely has it been examined through a multi-faceted work of art. Exploring this in 3 dimensions has given full scope to my sense of humor, pathos, whimsy, sarcasm, tragedy and passion. It has been an ambitious undertaking to create “BED”, more than 100 inter-related sculptures related to words with “bed” in them (bedtime, bed of roses, bedfellows, etc.). Meeting the challenge has been mind - expanding and multi-sensorial in every sense.
In addition, I have invited my audience into a very special theater of personal experience by creating BED UNMADE, a social media project consisting of a collection of personal images of unmade beds from around the world (www.bedunmade.com).
My work in portraiture follows my own search for a higher state of consciousness. What if I could capture the consciousness of my subject by entering the mind through its only portal beyond the cranium: the eyes? Our physical form is an external manifestation of our thoughts, one of which is supreme – how we see ourselves. If I could see my subject as my subject sees herself/himself, in his/her secret thoughts, most intimate thoughts, what would be seen? As my subject poses, a conversation begins not unlike one that would occur between a patient and her/his analyst. The revelations, the “nakedness”, then become symbolized through forms and objects, through stances and poses, until the portrait makes a statement that is not simply representational. The sur-realization is in fact, the reality of a complex being, revealed beyond the classic portrait,
What better place to start than with myself as the subject!
Leah Poller was born in Pennsylvania. She received classical training in sculpture at the prestigious Ecole Nationale Superieure de Beaux Arts, in Paris, France. Partaking of a rich, multi-cultural environment, Poller interacted with foremost members of the international arts communities of France, Spain, Italy and Latin America during her 20 years in Paris. Returning to the United States in 1992, Poller opened her studio and gallery, The Art Alliance, in a consummate Soho loft. There she specialized in introducing "New to America" mid and late career artists (Jacques Soisson, Ipousteguy, Ugo Attardi, Bernardo Torrens, Mario Murua, etc.). Her Salon evenings were the rage, presented in the grand tradition of the European Salon, while "Frame it, Its Yours" and "Yin-yang - A social/cultural Laboratory" were precursors to current trends in gallery activities. Poller has curated more than 140 exhibitions worldwide. Simultaneously, she began the series of “Beds” which has been exhibited in galleries and institutions in Europe, Mexico, China and throughout the United States in over 40 individual and group exhibitions.
In 2003, she was named Director of “Intercambios de Arte y Cultural Internacionale”, a not-for profit furthering cultural exchanges between the Americas and spearheading the restoration of a major twentieth century mural, recently revealed by Poller to be the work of Philip Guston.
In 2009 Poller moved to Harlem where she continues to work on “Bed” and its social media component "Bed Unmade” (www.bedunmade.com), a collection of unmade bed photos from around the world.
From her classical training as a portraitist, Poller has executed major portrait commissions in which the thoughts of the subject are transformed from internal to external, appearing as “headdresses” on her subjects in her portrait series “Warrior Women” and “Eyes of the Soul.
In 2010 Poller began an extensive collaboration with the largest bronze casting foundry in the world located in China. Subsequently she has received major recognition and multiple exhibitions in galleries, art fairs and institutions in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. Poller was selected as the ONLY foreigner, only American to exhibit at the Beijing Biennale of Female Sculptors. She has been featured on CNN, Fox Television and in numerous art publications. She has lectured extensively and held workshops on creativity.
Poller is currently Guest Editor for New Observations, a literary/art journal from begun in the 1980’s.
Poller travels extensively with Harlem as her base.