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Landscape Artist Embraces a Shifting Perspective of the Natural World

Léni Paquet-Morante
is a painter and sculptor with an eye for shallow water in the landscape. The Quebec-born artist has a passion for examining both natural and man-made environments where water flows or collects, and re-imagines them for a contemporary take on landscape painting. Her award-winning work has included representational musings on marshlands and coastlines as well as potholes and storm drains. Her studio work is far more interpretive.

 “Shallow water is both my theme and muse, and the work I do is really about perception, about shifting perspective, about the way you can experience its surface then refocus your eyes on what’s below,” she says. “For me as a painter, the trick is to do a good painting that speaks to those notions of movement and light across water.”

Léni exhibits at Rose Squared Art shows regularly, and her paintings and sculptures are in private, institutional, and corporate collections internationally.

Her epiphany to begin a career now in its fifth decade came at a young age.

“I had done a drawing at 8 years old and at that moment I said, ‘I’m going to be an artist when I grow up,’ ” she says. Her pencil drawing of the microscope all those years ago wasn’t overly special in Léni’s words, but it taught her how much she enjoyed both the labor behind it and the result.

Léni was raised in Maryland within a family of artists and in high school studied under Walter Bartman, a nationally acclaimed artist and educator. At her alma mater, Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, you’ll find Leni’s outdoor bronze sculpture from 1986, the culmination of an Artist-in-Education Residency through the Maryland State Council on the Arts.

At a young age she attended craft shows with her aunt, a ceramicist, and after high school apprenticed with her for a year. “She demonstrated what a studio practice could be and how to prepare for a show. That experience early on wasn’t just about making art, it was about selling it.” 

Léni would go on to Palomar College, a liberal arts community college in San Marcos, California, before completing a 16-month apprenticeship at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in New Jersey. Artists from all over the world congregated at the bronze casting foundry, which provided training for artists and skilled crafts people in modeling, enlarging, casting, fabrication, and finishing. Léni continues to work with the Johnson Atelier for some of her sculpture processes.

Today Léni is a member of the Johnson Atelier Studio program within the Motor Exhibit Building at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. She is a graduate of the Mason School of Art at Rutgers University. 

Léni and her husband, sculptor, G. Frederick Morante have three adult children, twin sons and a daughter.

Léni will bring her paintings to Rose Squared’s Anderson Park (Sept. 22-23) and Fall Brookdale Park show (Oct. 21-22). Stop by her booth and take home a postcard of her work – she hands one to each collector who visits. Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with something there — a magical way of seeing the familiar in a whole new light.