Dr Leslie Eastman is a visual artist and educator with extensive experience in academic teaching, leadership and practice based creative research.
Eastman's approach to teaching and art making is informed by an interest in philosophy and psychology as well as his training in Fine Art in Painting at RMIT in the 1990s. Eastman's research activity is focused around theories of phenomenology of perception and innovations in installation practice that are typically site-specific and ephemeral. The projects often involve significant logistical and organizational investment and he regularly works in collaboration with artists and writers in order to question and extend the role of authorship and the limits of an individual practice.
Leslie has worked primarily with site-determined ephemeral installations that explore the human sensorium in many ways for the viewer's completion and contemplation. Through these he aims to prompt larger revelations about the nature of perception itself. The current practice takes many forms including drawing, video, optics, sculpture and photography often utilising architectural installation in a context specific to site. The notion of the boundary between the interior and the exterior is a recurring motif. The various screens, frames and mirrored surfaces are materials used to provoke questions about the apparent demarcation between the real world and the internal world of the viewer. A corollary of these approaches is the idea of the interrelatedness of place and surroundings. Eastman emphasises the sometimes imperceptible relationship between a particular architectural site or landscape and the expanded field of its geographic, cultural or temporal surroundings that constitutes both its uniqueness and interdependence. He has done this through a number of methods including the camera obscura and streaming technology.
- Bachelor of Arts, Melbourne University 1988-1991
- Bachelor of Fine Art Painting (Honours) RMIT 1992-1994
- Masters of Fine Art RMIT, 1996
- PhD. Fine Art, Monash University, 2015
Eastman has extensive academic, administrative and leadership experience having played a key role in the delivery of several programs in the Department of Fine Art at Monash University Art Design and Architecture where he worked for over 20 years. His responsibilities included coordination of the Bachelor of Fine Art Program, the Drawing and Painting Programs which serviced many hundreds of students from across MADA as well as running the 3rd year and graduate exhibitions for over 15 years. At various times in this role Eastman also acted as Higher Degrees Coordinator, Masters Seminar Coordinator, Professional Practice Coordinator and Honours Program Coordinator. Eastman has extensive HDR experience having supervised numerous Masters and PhD candidates to completion. He has acted as examiner for many Higher Degrees students at the Masters and Phd level from many tertiary institutions.
Leslie has maintained an active art practice over the past 20 years. He has produced major installation works for public venues such as ACCA, Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, Gertrude Contemporary, Experimenta Art Inc, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Museums Victoria, Islamic Museum of Australia, Deakin Gallery, RMIT Gallery and Project Space and the Margaret Lawrence Gallery at the VCA. He has exhibited solo and group work in commercial galleries such as Nellie Castan and Neon Parc Galleries, and artist run spaces such as Westspace and Blindside. He has also exhibited work internationally in group shows in Italy, Vienna, Skopje and London.
Eastman has collaborated with other artists and writers including most recently New York based artist Natasha Johns-Messenger and astronomer Professor Sarah Maddison, Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.
'The Visible and the Invisible' commissioned for Swoon at ACCA by Juliana Enberg in 2004 received praise in the specialist and mainstream press.
In 2006 Eastman was a recipient of the Venice Biennale Educators travel award and in the same year was commissioned with Johns-Messenger to produce the signature work for Vanishing Point curated by Experimenta Inc. Their subsequent major exhibition XYZ:NYC held in New York in 2012 was supported by a New Work Grant from the Australia Council and was awarded 'Show of the Week in New York' by the Art Show on National Public Radio.
From 2010 to 2013, Eastman was director of the Light Projects gallery in Northcote, an experimental project space working with Brad Haylock and Tamsin Green and Stephen Palmer. Light Projects staged many exhibitions by local and international artists gaining considerable attention and was a vehicle for mentoring a younger generation of artists and writers including, as well as a means to develop dialogue and new audiences.
The above projects have often been funded by various grants from the Australia Council, Creative Victoria, Melbourne City Council and other funding bodies. Many have entailed large budgets, working to compressed timelines with a team of fabricators, writers and assistants. Eastman enjoys working at scale in ambitious and sensitive ways, galvanising communities of makers, artists and audiences. He also sustains a studio based drawing and photographic practice and writes for catalogue and artist projects.
In 2017 Eastman exhibited The Illuminated Field at the new Islamic Museum of Australia. This work comprised footage filmed in Andalucía in Spain whilst on the Australia Council Barcelona studio residency.
Eastman was the founding member, curator and exhibitor at Light Projects (2010-12) an experimental project space in Melbourne which held numerous exhibitions by local and international artists addressing themes of psychoanalysis and perception.
Leslie has served on numerous selection committees including the Studio Selection Committee at Gertrude Contemporary, the Artistic Selection Committee at Blindside Gallery and Artistic Selection committees at Linden Contemporary.
His work is represented in various collections and is documented at leslieeastman.com
1 PhD Current Supervisions