Day break, sunsets, moonrise, mottled leaves, coastal oak trees. Sand dunes, tidepools, ocean caves, volcanic rock, breaking waves. These are some of the moments throughout San Luis Obispo County that artist Leah Rosenberg found inspiration in for the collection of forty-one colors for her mural SLO(W) Rainbow on the exterior museum walls in March 2023. For Rosenberg, this exhibition is a return to the museum and this palette; bringing the colors from the outside in. She returns to and reorders this collection of colors with ritualistic tendency, and by doing so, offers a specific and timely story of this place and a lasting connection to San Luis Obispo.
Rosenberg serves us a forcefield of carefully chosen colors in multitude of ways: through the mural wrapping the four exterior walls of the museum, then inside the gallery walls through a “rainbow” oil painting and a series of watercolors with a meandering horizon line. With respect to the history of indigenous mark-making in the region, Rosenberg uses the building, the site of the Museum, as her due north and the colors as her guide. Her poignant relationship with color seeks to help people in building a muscle for moving through the world as a color collector too.
How do these colors make us feel? Can we take them with us? Do they stay with us? Can we become these colors by paying special and deep attention to them? How do they inform us about what is happening in and to the landscape that surrounds us each day? Can slowing down to know these colors help us show more tenderness to each other?
This exhibition is a complement to her 2023-2024 mural project with SLOMA, SLO(W) Rainbow, which graces the Museum’s exterior façade.
About the Artist
Leah Rosenberg works across artistic media to spark new experiences of color, inviting viewers to consider how color can be experienced both multi-sensorially and multidimensionally. Rooted in her belief in the fundamental generosity of art and the creative act, Rosenberg promotes a democratic approach to the perception of color. Based in San Francisco, Rosenberg has shown work, participated in artist residency programs, and been awarded fellowships locally, nationally, and internationally. Her work is part of SFMOMA’s permanent collection where she also worked as the lead pastry chef at their rooftop café. Combining her talents, she created a spectrum of desserts based on the museum’s collection. Rosenberg earned a BFA from Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, BC and an MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
Support for this exhibition provided by