Casa Blanca (Shield)
Dimensions: 16 x 26″
Media: mixed media with glass beads on wood
Unlike many of his other works, in Casa Blanca (Shield), Orlando Leyba uses visually distinct linear elements—composed of a pattern of horizontal divisions—in the composition of his work. While in some instances, the inlaid patterning remains contained within its allocated strip, on the right side of the work, more organic detailing interrupts the clean splits, suggesting a sort of muted disorder.
Orlando Leyba’s works oscillate between the abstract and the representational; while free floating and formless, the detailing in his pieces—which demands a degree of intimacy to appreciate—stands in for a wide array of Leyba’s experiences, emotions, and physical encounters. Ranging from custom lowrider cars to petroglyphs, Leyba’s affinity for incorporating found objects and ideas in his work and ability to juxtapose the corporeal with the immaterial, the whimsical with the familiar, introduces a profoundly psychological insight into Leyba’s past and present life as an artist. As a high school student, Leyba describes that he and his classmates would often break into abandoned buildings in search for materials to use in their work. While Leyba’s present practices might now be considered more conventional, he continues to use ideological manifestations of what was once a process of physical collection—incorporating checker patterns reminiscent of his grandparent’s floor, collage materials, and distorted textual elements in a manner not too different from tearing wallpaper from forgotten walls. To Leyba, his works are inherently topographical and interconnected; they interact with one another rather than stand alone and represent “little pieces of land”, a concept ingrained in him from the time spent working on his parent’s property in northern New Mexico as a child.