A California bay area native Jeff Leake holds a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from UC Davis. For the past ten years he has been using animal imagery to explore human relationships. Along the way he has shown nationally and internationally and is now in numerous private and public collections throughout the country. He now lives and works in sunny Portland Oregon with his wife kids and three dogs.
At its root my work attempts to explore the relationship between nature and ourselves. Referencing the history of landscape painting I tend to view my work through a lens of display in the tradition of Victorian era natural history where nature is often taken from its normal context and made decorative. This body of work attempts to shift the traditional perspective of dominion over nature so that it comes from the point of view of the natural world where our human presence is a distant but pervasive element. Like the anthropomorphic animals in Aesop’s fables, the animals I include give me a way to tell the story of this relationship by allegory so that rather than a specific narrative it is the juxtaposition of imagery that allows me to examine these connections between our condition and nature as a question rather than a statement.