“I depict ways in which women modify their bodies, take on various permutations of androgyny, and are celebrated for it,”
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You might recognise Kim Leutwyler’s unique aesthetic. It’s bold, bright and powerful. Big blocks of colour flow in and out with her subjects, which are predominantly portraits of LGBTQI-identified and queer-allied women. One of her works was most recently nominated as a finalist in this year’s Archibald prize, and Leutwyler is quickly gaining a loyal following for her incredible work.
Growing up in the United States, Leutwyler moved to Australia in three years ago.
“I had the pleasure of living all over the country and consider myself a bit of a nomad. I have concurrent bachelor degrees in Studio and Art History from Arizona State University, and additionally graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Painting and Drawing degree. I visited Australia 10 years ago while studying abroad at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and fell in love with Sydney. For the past decade I’ve always spoken about making it back, so I migrated here in 2012,” Leutwyler says.
Leutwyler works with a huge range of mediums, including ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, print and drawing, but has now come to focus on painting as a medium because of its primarily masculine history in western artwork.
“The main obstacle I faced after University was that I had very little opportunity to use the facilities required to create new work. When I found myself in search of a creative outlet, I turned to drawing and painting in my living room with my flat mate. Lucky for me she happens to be an incredible painter so I learned from the best! By entering into the modernist painting field I plan to continue to destabilize gender borders just as LGBT artists have been doing since the ’70s and earlier. In the future, I see my artwork stimulating dialogue in both the feminist and mainstream art worlds,” Leutwyler says.
“The bodies of LGBTQ-identified and Queer-allied women in my paintings are evolving with their social environment. I depict ways in which women modify their bodies, take on various permutations of androgyny, and are celebrated for it,” Leutwyler explains.