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Rachel Leibman
Montclair, NJ

Artwork Details
Illumination #23
collage from ancient manuscript images on panel

Rachel Leibman is a collage artist from Montclair, NJ. She uses prints of ancient illuminated manuscripts as her source material, deconstructing these images into small pieces of paper – a snippet of Arabic, Hebrew or Sanskrit text, a clipping of a Celtic pattern, small rectangles or triangles of color whose original purpose has been obscured. She uses these small pieces of paper as her palette and “paints” colorful, detailed and elaborate pictures which she titles with the term “Illuminations.” Her collages draw on the art of ancient times and age-old traditions, transforming these component parts into vibrant, contemporary icons which resonate with new meanings for the modern viewer.


Leibman incorporates manuscripts of different religions, languages and styles into each collage. The collages pay homage to those who came before us and celebrate the uniqueness of our varied heritages. At the same time, they portray the human interconnectedness and cultural melding that is our global society. Although the source materials for the illuminations are sacred documents, Leibman does not consider the illuminations to be religious. Rather, for her, this cultural amalgamation represents a characteristically modern, secular and humanistic view.


Leibman has exhibited her collages in many solo and group shows in New York City and New Jersey including the Arts Guild of Rahway, the George Segal Gallery, the Morris Museum, the Pierro Gallery, the Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University and Broome Street Gallery in Soho. She has been the season opening artist twice at Synagogue for the Arts in Tribeca. Recently she was the curator for an exhibit for Studio Montclair artists and will be curating a show about paper called “Pulp” next year at the Arts Guild of Rahway. Leibman works from the Franklin Street Studios in East Orange, NJ.