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Photographer Zoe Leonard to Speak at SUNY New Paltz Art Lecture Series

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NEW PALTZ -- Zoe Leonard, whose photography maintains a reputation for being both controversial and elegantly subtle, will present a lecture about her work at SUNY New Paltz on Wednesday, November 1, 2000. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 112, and is free and open to all. The Student Art Alliance, a funded organization of the Student Association, sponsors the Art Lecture Series.

Recent works by Leonard have included a series of discarded banana and citrus peels that have been stitched, zippered, or buttoned, and reflect "how pathetic the attempt to put things back together is, but also how beautiful." Titled "Strange Fruit," the work was created in reaction to the AIDS epidemic.

Leonard's work has evolved since returning from Alaska, where she lived alone in the Yukon for nearly two years. She recently created a fictional film and photo "archive" for the film Watermelon Woman (available on video) directed by Cheryl Dunye and shown at the 1998 Whitney Biennial. While her work has retained a concern with analyzing and understanding urban culture and society, it has deepened to include a keen awareness of the complexity of nature in everyday life.

Zoe Leonard grew up in New York, and dropped out of school when she was just 15. First with a Rollei 35 which she borrowed from her mom, and later with her own camera, Leonard began to take photographs that revealed her own experiences and emotions. "Photography was the one thing I kept coming back to. I made work about what's on my mind. What disturbs me, excites me, or confuses me. My fears, my desires. That's photography. I point my camera at something that interests me. Then I show it to you. You literally see my point of view. You see what moves me, scares me or disgusts me."

Zoe Leonard exhibits internationally is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery in New York City.

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