Marietta Patricia Leis

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Marietta Patricia Leis
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Newark, New Jersey
Alma materUniversity of New Mexico
  • Artist
  • Poet

Marietta Patricia Leis (born 1938 in Newark, New Jersey) is a multimedia artist and poet living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who uses material processes to create reductive artworks that reference nature and environment[1]. Leis has participated in artist residencies throughout the world, and her work has been shown internationally in both solo and group exhibitions and acquired by several museums and public collections.[1][2]


Growing up, Leis was educated in the public schools of East Orange, New Jersey. She studied modern dance and classical ballet on scholarships and grants beginning at 7 years old[3]. While in high school, she was an apprentice performer in dance/acting at the White Barn Theatre, Westport, CT, and was exposed to her first acting classes on Shakespeare with Eve Le Gallienne. She graduated high school in 1957 in the top 10% of her class and moved to New York City where she studied acting with Lee Strasberg and dance with Matt Mattox and Robert Joffrey. She was an actress and dancer in Off-Broadway, experimental film, television and movies, most notably played the student in The Lesson, a one-act play by Eugène Ionesco. In 1985 she received MA in painting from the University of New Mexico. In 1987 she spent eight months in Italy where she studied Italian in an intensive course at the Universita of Stranieri, Perugia, Italy. She received her MFA from UNM in 1988 and began teaching in the UNM Continuing Education program.


In 1982-83, Leis moved from Los Angeles, CA, to Rancho de Taos, New Mexico, and soon after to Albuquerque. During this period, she traveled to Italy where she met Mario Mertz and Marisa Mertz and Algherio Boetti of the Arte Povera movement. In 1988, she published her first poems that related to her visual art which were included in the catalogue for an exhibition of a series of constructions and mixed media work at the UNM School of Architecture. From 1994-96, she created The Story of Marietta Robusti Tintoretto, an exhibition that reframed the life of Marietta Robusti and the role she played in her father's famous workshop. The exhibition toured cities in Italy and the United States for five years, and art critic Lucy Lippard wrote an essay for the announcement brochure when the work debuted at the Jonson Gallery, UNM[4]. A major turning point in her work came in 2001 when she created The Blue Series[5], her first monochromatic works that were about color and place, inspired by her artist residency at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

Awards and Museum Collections

In 2019, Leis was chosen for the Edwina and Charles Milner Women in the Arts Award at Western New Mexico University, Silver City, and a group of work was acquired for their permanent collection. Her work is also in the collections of the Harwood Museum, Taos, NM; The Fort Smith Convention Center, AK; and the Johnson Gallery at the University of NM, Albuquerque.

Selected exhibitions

Leis has been actively exhibiting her artwork since her 1983 when she had her first NM solo exhibit titled My Ladies at Phillip Bareiss Gallery, Taos[6]. In 2019, Leis' work was exhibited during the Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Mora[7], sponsored by the European Cultural Center; she was featured as part of the Alcove series at the New Mexico Museum of Art[8]; and she had a solo exhibition, titled AIR, at the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre Museum of Modern Art where she was in-residence to present an artist talk and a master class[9].


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Artist Spotlight: Marietta Patricia Leis". New Mexico State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  2. "Mirage Fall 2019". Issuu. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  3. L, Ann; i (2018-08-26). "Marietta Patricia Leis". Vasari21. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  4. Lucy Lippard, "Excerpts from the series: The Marietta Robusti Tintoretto Story," Jonson Gallery of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
  5. Adrian Gomez, "Artist Stays True Blue To Most-Beloved Color," Albuquerque Journal, January 2, 2011
  6. "About". marietta leis. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  7. "2019 ART". Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  8. "Alcoves 2020 #1". Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  9. "AIR". Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre. Retrieved 2020-12-07.

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