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Artist Bio

 

Leah Nadeau, born in Detroit, Michigan is a Seattle-based contemporary abstract artist known for her use of geometric compositions, bold color stories, and signature linework. Nadeau’s aesthetic is defined by vibrant color blocking and energetic lines. She creates a unique rhythm between chroma and contrast as she paints, lending every painting an immediate sense of vitality. Her skills for discernment and visual memory have become finely tuned through years of travel, sketching, painting, and ideating, all of which became the foundations for her art career. 

 

She began incorporating industry, architecture, and design into her work as commentary on the societal imagery we consume both consciously and unconsciously. Her post-graduate education in film strengthened her ability to view the world from the outside in. Nadeau’s art is heavily influenced by the German Expressionist Movement in cinema, Rondocubism, and Gothic-style architecture. Her innovative techniques capture the frenetic feel of cityscapes in time gone by, the stasis of aerial landscapes over Europe and the United States, and the essence of the Mid-Century Modern Era. 

She is passionate about raising the voices of those who are silent, and standing up for the vulnerable. Growing up she faced stigma around mental health and chronic pain, which has led her to be passionate about speaking up for those who feel marginalized.

 

Nadeau’s work is highly sought after, and is collected by patrons worldwide. She has sold over 350 original paintings directly from her website. She has had five solo shows since 2019 and has been featured in several juried exhibitions. Her paintings are on permanent display at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan. In 2021, Nadeau was commissioned by the city of Grosse Pointe, Michigan to participate in a public works installation now permanently featured on sidewalks in the heart of the city. 

 

In a world that often favors the predictable, Nadeau strives to be a refreshing reminder of life lived with distinction. You can find her in Washington relaxing with a cold brew coffee and her rescue dog, Gus. 

 

Leah Nadeau at the Side Rail Artist Collective October show with two of her works on display in Seattle

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

In my artistic journey, I speak frequently about my struggles with mental health and aim to shed light on my experience with chronic pain. Chronic pain, with its varied manifestations, has profoundly impacted two significant areas of my life. In my late 20s, I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which affects my entire body, a disorder that causes extreme muscle pain due to a lack of collagen in my ligaments and connective tissue.

Additionally, 2019 I was diagnosed with oral lichen planus, which causes daily mouth pain. Though chronic pain may be invisible, its power is undeniable, often consuming my every moment.

I struggle daily with both Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I have a busy inner world and strong fears that I can get stuck ruminating on. Despite these, I use artwork to shift my focus and create beautiful art.

Growing up, I struggled to be vulnerable and share my feelings with others. I had experiences that other children my age didn’t struggle with, so I felt Isolated. I feel it is my mission to challenge the stigma through my work so that others may be open and vulnerable about their struggles to diminish said stigma.

Having felt isolated in the past, I strongly believe that each individual’s experience deserves acknowledgment. I hope to inspire and support others navigating similar struggles by embracing vulnerability and speaking candidly about my challenges. Perhaps my story will encourage others to seek help, educate themselves about these issues, or foster greater empathy and understanding. Cultivating compassion has helped me with healing and personal growth and I strive to empower others to do the same.

Amid the turbulence of my journey, art has become my lifeboat. This unwavering sanctuary enables me to navigate the complexities of my existence rather than passively allowing life to happen to me. It is a steadfast anchor, carrying me through the darkest and most arduous days when pain threatens to engulf every fiber of my being. Through my art, I find solace, expression, and a profound means of healing. Within the deliberate strokes of my brush, the interplay of vibrant colors, and the harmonious shapes that emerge, I discover a wellspring of resilience and transformation. Art empowers me to transcend my circumstances, embracing the boundless beauty of creation and embarking on a profound journey of self-discovery. Through creating, I find solace, restoration, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Through art, I can overcome my circumstances and become resilient. Despite everything that has happened, I’m living my dream life. I Inspire others by sharing my courageous story and journey of learning from pain.


When starting a painting, I lay down the first layers of my work. As the composition emerges, my brain begins to quiet as I see the path I want to take with my brush on canvas. My inner world takes over from my busy brain and a story emerges, calming my inner narrative.

Although my OCD is rooted in fear of contamination, the possibilities of acrylic paint pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and choose that as my main medium. despite my fears telling me it was life-threatening. Facing this challenge was a big step in my personal and artistic journey. The acrylic medium transformed my style from watercolor florals that felt safe, to colorful geometric abstraction that set me free.

 

Leah Nadeau

Education:
Bachelor of Arts, University of San Francisco (2013)
Master of Arts, Aberystwyth University (2015)

 

 

 Exhibitions:

2023: 

Women United Artist Movement - Solo show- "Organized Chaos"

Side Rail Collective- Georgetown Art Attack Group Exhibition

All About WomenJuried Group Exhibition - Marin Society of Artists

Exhibizone- Curves 2023 Group Exhibition

2022: 

West Seattle Art Walk: Solo Exhibition

2021: 

Henry Ford Cancer Center Pavillion: permanent artist residency 

Roaring Artist Gallery: Powerful Little Things Exhibition & Market Participant

 Lions and Rabbits Art Gallery:  Artist residency at Cityflats Hotel in Grand Rapids, MI (through August 2022)

Detroit Artists Market: Holiday Market Exhibitor

2020: 

Brewery Fasian: Solo exhibition, Detroit, MI

The Lemon Tree: Solo exhibition, South Lyon, MI

2019: 

Great Lakes Coffee Co: Solo exhibition, Detroit, MI

2017: 

Small Wonders: Group exhibition, Grosse Pointe, MI

2016: 

Art Liaisons Gallery:  Winter Gallery Featured Exhibitor, San Carlos, CA

Art Liasons Gallery: University Art Group Exhibition, June and July,  Palo Alto, California

Press:

Women United Artist Movement: Creating Rhythym Between Chroma and Contrast (link)

Bold Journey: Resilience: Meet Leah Nadeau (link)

Canvas Rebel: Meet Leah Nadeau (link)

Great Lakes by Design Magazine: Architectonics. Volume 5, Issue 6 (link)

I Love Creatives: Contemporary Abstract Painter Leah Nadeau (link)

Grosse Pointe Alumni and Friends: Leah Nadeau: Class of 2009 (link)

Ann Arbor With Kids: Color the Quarantine Coloring Book (link)