I am a multi-media artist working across several disciplines: mixed-media installations, sculptures, and 2-dimensional paintings, collages and monotypes. I work in several media because the content in my work needs to be expressed in different ways, at different times. Sometimes narration takes precedence, sometimes it is a social or political commentary, sometimes it is a sheer expression of passion in an abstract work that includes just shapes, forms and colors.
A recurring theme of my work is the effect and influence of an environment on the shaping of an individual and all living things. My work often addresses the “point of transgression,” the period of time when a choice is being made to displace oneself in order to evolve, change and reach another level.
Grace Leal was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to the United States as a teenager. After attending 3 different high schools in Texas, Michigan and Florida, she went on to college in Puerto Rico, where she graduated with a B.A. in Sociology. Shortly after graduation, she married, moved back to Florida and raised her family. She currently resides in Cocoa, where she keeps a studio.
It is Leal’s interest in sociology and anthropology that has influenced her artistic endeavors. Migration, acculturation, and interrelations with different people from diverse backgrounds have provided a fertile ground to explore, challenge and imbue content into her art.
It comes as no surprise that Leal would begin her art career by working in clay, that most ancient of crafts. After several years producing glazed pots, she started to make non-utilitarian vessels which were painted with acrylics. Ultimately, painting became a passion, and the clay was replaced with canvas and paper. Soon after she was also exploring installation art, collage, and most recently, printing. She believes that all art forms are interrelated and the knowledge and experience gained from one medium facilitates and informs others.
She is self taught, but has worked with many wonderful artists who have shared with her their many different techniques and philosophies.