Sidetracks Art Gallery announces a new development in the Gallery’s 10th year – a move to new quarters two doors south, at 10 Stockton Avenue. 


A Grand Re-Opening will take place on Saturday, February 21, 2015, from 5 to 9 PM, featuring a solo exhibition of new artwork of Resident Gallery Artist Leah K. Tomaino of Randolph, New Jersey. Special entertainment will be provided by a select quartet from Buck’s County’s own Cordus Mundi.


Sidetracks first introduced Leah’s art to the New Hope area in Ménage à Tree in February of 2007.  Her popularity with visitors to the Gallery over the past year led the Gallery to extend an invitation for an expanded one-woman show in the summer of 2008, Days of Wine and Posies. The popularity continues.


Now through March 29, in this new one-woman show, Brown Bags Blossom. Leah’s pioneering acrylic and paper collages have become more complex in execution but more robustly simple in color and texture, in rhythm and design.  Each artwork is the product of 10 to 18 months of work – as recycled ordinary brown bags are torn apart, painted with vivid colors and hand-applied in myriads of miniature pieces. Yet each image from afar calls attention rather to the singular beauty of its floral design than to its painstaking genesis in the studio.


The subjects, as always in Leah’s career, are deeply personal. From a garden called Family Portrait to a series of floral impressions of Smith College during her daughter’s years in residence. And from another series based on views of Mt. Rainier in Washington State as she long cared for and then mourned a beloved aunt and uncle, to one singular portrait of rhododendrons called My Ruby, coming to beautiful life from the burial place of a beloved family pet.


Two earlier works, Dear Artist and Sincerely, The Curator exorcise every artist’s demons of gallery and museum rejection slips by turning them into witty collages representing new growth and vigorous life. 


The pulse and the soul of Brown Bags Blossom spring from Leah’s mastery of many mediums. They are unified both by her main subject matter of the mystery and majesty of flowers and trees, as well as by her fine hand and strong sense of fluid composition.


Leah K. Tomaino is a graduate of The Cooper Union in New York City, with further study at The Studio School of the Aegean in Greece and at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.  Since 2003, she has been an adjunct professor at County College of Morris and since 2001 an art instructor at Artworks Studio, both in her hometown of Randolph.  Her works are widely featured in area galleries and shows.  She received the National Association of Women Artists Medal of Honor and Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation Award for Works on Paper in 2012.  An image of Dear Artist was included in The Star Ledger’s April 17, 2014 article, “A Woman’s Touch” by critic Dan Bischoff, reviewing Jersey Women Artists Now: Contemporary Visions at George Segal Gallery, Montclair State University.  Sincerely, the Curator was also featured by PBS New Jersey in a 2014 exhibition called Pulp Culture at The Morris Museum in Morristown.