Leah Virsik: to connect, to join
July 30, 2021 – September 4, 2021
Textile artist Leah Virsik presents a curtain-like sculpture comprised of jean cuffs that link together to form a web of open space, spanning floor to ceiling, and almost as wide as her wingspan – about 5 feet. Each interconnected link features a range of blues from light cornflower to blue black. The negative space forms organic, angular shapes that repeat as shadows on the wall behind.
Denim, a material made from cotton and indigo, is an ever-present reminder that these crops were historically produced by enslaved people. The weight of the fabric and force of gravity on the suspended work creates a visible tension among the loops. Virsik finds that this tension still exists within her own body—and within all our bodies—complicit in this ongoing system of racial injustice.
25 percent of proceeds from the sale of this work will go to the Freedom Fund for Rahsaan “New York” Thomas to raise legal funds to assist him in fighting for his freedom after over 20 years of incarceration at San Quentin State Prison.
Leah Virsik is an Oakland-based visual artist who received her MFA from San Francisco State University. Her work is primarily driven by materials and includes collage, sculptural fiber, and book arts. Her work has been exhibited at the City College of San Francisco Art Gallery in San Francisco, PhotoCentral Gallery in Hayward, and galleryFritz in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Virsik gave her work away for free as an Artist-in-Residence at Free Oakland UP in 2017. Leah teaches art to middle school and high school students and freelances on many projects. This year she is doing COVID-19 contact tracing for San Mateo County, CA.
Leah Virsik is an Oakland-based visual artist whose work is primarily driven by materials
and includes collage, sculptural fiber, and book arts. She has a BS in
Marketing from California State University, East Bay and a MFA in Art from San
Francisco State University. Her work has been exhibited at Mercury 20 Gallery
in Oakland; Incline Gallery, SOMArts, and the City College of San Francisco Art
Gallery in San Francisco; and galleryFritz in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among
others. She is a recipient of a San Francisco State/Kala Art Institute MFA
Fellowship (2014), Leo D. Stillwell Jr. Scholarship (2015), Jack K. and
Gertrude Murphy Fellowship (2015), and a Sher-Right Scholarship
(2016). Virsik gave her work away for free as an Artist-in-Residence at
Free Oakland UP (2017). Leah teaches art to middle school and high school
students and book arts at Feather River Art Camp. She also does freelance book