Serena Kobayashi LeBel

Serena Kobayashi LeBel
York University (Toronto,ON)

In my artistic practice, I find myself drawn to all things feminine and from nature, using the links between them to depict the complexities of the human psyche. Each subject matter for my paintings represents a different aspect of what it’s like to be human. Using connections on a scientific level to describe human emotions and tendencies. I hybridize portraits with natural imagery; connecting our sentience with our long-forgotten animalistic past in a way that helps us remember where we came from. I explore the way I have both seen other women express themselves, as well as how I express myself. What trauma is internalized, but peaks through as self defense? What coping strategies are externalized, emphasising to the world that we are okay? How do these parts of us get shifted and altered over time by our social conditioning and what can never be changed? What is there because it is sewn into the fabric of our DNA – like the flight, fight or freeze syndrome – and what do we develop with age? I spend a lot of time in the thinking process before I start a painting, specializing each piece towards one specific idea. This is the grounds for my latest body of work that I have been building over the last 2 years. In my painting “Like A Moth…” I consider human attraction and the urges that draw us towards an individual, often despite our best interests. A moth will fly directly into a fire because it is compelled towards the light, just as some people will run back into the arms of an abusive partner; or someone might cheat on a spouse, or willing stay with the wrong group of friends. Human nature is strange, and our behaviour patterns are even stranger. I feel compelled to work through this ideas in a way visual sense to better understand them, and honestly in the hopes of better understanding myself and why I sometimes behave the way I do.

Serena Kobayashi-LeBel is a Toronto based artist who specializes in post-surrealistic figurative oil painting. Born and raised in Toronto, she spent her four years of high school in an art intensive program at Wexford Collegiate School of the arts, where she graduated top of her class. Kobayashi-LeBel has recently completed her 5th and final year of the bachelor’s in fine arts at York University with a specialization in Visual arts and painting. Throughout her undergrad, Kobayashi-LeBel was involved in many different art exhibitions both with York, and on her own. Most notably she received the Willowdale Art Award in her fourth year and elected to remain for a fifth year to do an independent study culmination in her first ever solo exhibition at York University’s Gales Gallery.