..."LEFT: Diana and Blake Karlin of Woodstock look at the exhibit "the END is the beginning by artist Bert Leveille. ... BOTTOM RIGHT: Artist Bert Leveille talks with a friend during a closing reception for her "the END is the beginning" installation. ... NW Herald, 2016
Bert Leveille graduated from Elmhurst College's art department in 1971. But take a walk through EC's Accelerator Art Space, and you may not even know it. Through Oct. 3, the artist will be showcasing her drawings, paintings and sculptures in a free gallery open to the public, entitled "Bridging the Millennium." And across the drawing table, the cryptic and often bludgeoned images are as original as if she's graduated a wide-eyed art student yesterday.
Like Alvin Schwartz sketches bathed in cherry wine red and punch drunk orange, the paintings appear on queen-size canvas and stretch along every wall in the college's newly renovated art space. The more entrancing illustrations play respectfully into what Leveille calls her alternate universe and consciousness, featuring more gothic creations draped with threaded appendages and thinner shadows. "Nebular Breach" and "Future," both acrylics on canvas, are prime representations of Leveille's calendar style; it's one she expresses as a challenged essence of reality, while up close the drawings speak proverbial volumes of imagination revolting from repression.
As a 1971 graduate, Leveille belonged to the original wave of EC art students (since the program wasn't established until 1969), even having peered with now EC professor John Weber. As Weber claimed in his introduction of Leveille on Sept. 10, she has stayed in touch and in the area since her graduation, and now the EC has an opportunity to enjoy the spoils of her proximity. ...
— Will Petty, Editor in chief, The Leader - Cult(ure) September 14, 2004
"leveille installation at Bubotto"
Elgin's Bubotto arts salon has become a place to learn and grow
... featured artist Bert Leveille's wall-sized tapestries.
...The wall-sized canvases of Elgin painter Bert Leveille dominate Sunday's show with up to 24 by 15 feet of surrealistic color splashes. Bubotto's featured artist, Leveille paints her pieces in sections rolled out on the floor. Sometimes she doesn't see the complete composition until the installation unveiling. It's a journey through my subconsious," she said of her sweeping style. "Some people find (the paintings) very nightmarish, and some people find them very fanciful."
Take a ‘Totally Tubular’ stroll through artist Leveille’s subconscious
Viewing the latest exhibit by artist Bert Leveille is a far cry from simply walking between paintings hung on the wall.
The experience is more like taking a stroll through Leveille’s subconscious ... dance performance... The dancers represented some of the figures in Leveille's mind, which come to life in her paintings and art pieces. And the tubes for which the exhibit is named were incorporated...
While novelists frequently say their characters take on a life of their own, it is far more unusual to hear a painter speak in those terms. But that is precisely how...Bert Leveille regards her work. ...
The characters that bubble up from Leveille's imagination are not readily apparent in day-to-day life.
"Although my creatures have some human traits, they're not humans," she explains. ... "I think of them as being more universal ... Tubes started showing up whenever I did water colors... By making them three-dimensional tunnels, large enough to go inside, I'm creating a dialogue. By bringing tunnels to life, so to speak, I hope to find out what it means. ...
an experiment in fantasy, but then fantasy could be reality. I was always fascinated with how the microscopic view of something looks completely different from what we see. ... I don't tie myself down to recognizable. ..."
"Experiment in Fantasy"
Artist turns fantasy world into art reality
...Rebellious by nature, Leveille reveled in the freedom coming with artistic expression. After all, the work was her own. She could set the parameters.... "I wanted it all to come from the subconscious."...Leveille now finds herself "making a conscious effort" to allow some recognizable forms to come through — literally. "I felt these characters wanted to get off the canvas," ...giving these characters a complete three-dimensional world to work in....
"...experimental, with holes and lines. It's like a language. Just like a writer has to build a vocabulary of words , an artist has to build a vocabulary of images."
The holes Leveille refers to are actual tears in her free-form canvases. "They bring tthe pieces together in that a person could be looking at one piece and see another,"...
"That's part of the beauty of abstract art. People see what they want to see."
—Danielle Aceto, Northwest Herald, April 21, 1988
DOWN THE TUBES
Bells I hear, there's nothing to fear.
In and out; up, down and about.
In the tunnel we go, and you can't say no
You see the little guys, from paintings they arise.
Nimbly they flow, off the paintings they go.
Serenity we find, leave our troubles behind.
Have fun and be happy, and you'll want to stay.
Deeper we get, but you can bet
Though stranger and stranger, there is no danger,
Now it's time to leave, yes you can believe.
Always there in your mind, close your eyes to find.
THE SELLING OF bert leveilleYou Sir.
Yes, I said you.
I saw you walking this way and I said
"There's the man...he's the one!"
Step this way, towards the card table and easel,
I have something you want to see.
Don't look too hard, but there is an artist over there;
She's surrounded by family and friends.
She's the one there, the one with
the quick smile
and the dancer's legs.
She made what you see here.
She made it all.
You see this teacup? It has things (forms we call them)
emerging to sort of replace the handle.
And you know the cup collection of your Aunt's?
Need I say more?
Or you could use it yourself.
It would stimulate more than caffeine.
It would freshen up your morning.
And I have T-shirts here.
And they are remarkable.
It is art that you can wear, sir. You...
or someone you love.
Rembrandt did not paint T-shirts, sir...
but Valezquez certainly did.
And Rembrandt was not Bert Leveille.
And now, sir, the paintings...
We have thoughts, sir.
They are thoughts that have no words.
They leap in our minds;
They dance; and these paintings
are remembrances of that.
These paintings, sir, are thoughts
come to life.
They breathe, they dance, just
like they do in your head.
To have one of these on your wall
is to live that internal life.
Talent is when someone comes along
who can put it on paper.
Where does that skill emanate from?
I just don't know...
and so the mystery deepens.
Take these notecards.
You can not only send a note with these, sir.
You can send mystery.
You can put it in an envelope.
Aut Minnie? The one with the bank stock
and the old car? Perhaps she could
use some mystery come to her
in the mail.
I saw you walking this way, sir
and I picked you out.
I sense that you know some things;
About how life fades,
and how the days can march by,
And I sense you've heard the song
of the caged bird, singing.
Well, sir, you may have this day.
This sunny day, sir, you may own forever.
Put it under glass.
It is yours to purchase
with nothing more than dollars.
Death is at our elbows, sir
you know this.
We are waist deep already in our own death.
Protect the day, sir.
Buy something. – by J. Belland
COMMENTS from viewers of bert leveille images and installations
• Bert Leveille your work always holds my eye, just lovely and intriguing and yet warm and hopeful!
• I always get a lovely ethereal mystical magical feel from your work Bert Leveille!
• my dreams – nightmares
• walking in to another place
• I didn't think I would tear up - but I did and tearing up again talking to you.
• I see my entire family up in that corner.
"the END is the beginning" exhibit:
• it seems to me that images that are still can make us realize the movement. human beings may achieve and transcend limits imposed on them by solid form. - thank you
• I love, love, love it...
• unique & intriguing. great use of line & color
a line is never ending - amazing work
• Fascinating ...
• I really love the purpose behind your artwork, to have people reflect on their relationship with the world.
• Love the motion
• Truly beautiful, I was immersed into another world, gorgeous!
• life changing stuff
fantastic use of imagery and stagnity
• Super cool! I feel like there's a feeling but i can't put it into words
unnerving in the best way
• I'm unsure... but I like it
• Truly out of this world experience
• ... made me feel almost like I was losing my sense of reality
• mezmorizing! I love it. I could spend hours in here.
• it makes me happy to be in here
• most excellent
• that is 'Different'