Apropos Exhibit at the Umlauf

The Apropos Show was a juried group exhibition of contemporary art that thoughtfully addressed an aspect or aspects of Charles Umlauf’s work. Some artists may have pay homage to Umlauf’s sculpture or subject matter, while other artists might question or problematize tenets embedded in Umlauf’s oeuvre.  Apropos was a wide-ranging exhibition that displayed a variety of responses to Umlauf’s work, offering viewers a chance to reflect on a multitude of themes. 

The show ran in 2023 at The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum.
605 Azie Morton Road Austin, TX 78704

Participating artists: Olaniyi Akindiya, Reynaldo Alaniz, Rachel Aquino, Darcie Book, Janet Brooks, Nathan Burgess, Bella Cheng, Avery Connett, Matt Donner, Sarah Fagan, Leslie Kell, Ellen LeBlanc, Gary McElhaney, Jennifer Pate, Stanton Pittman, Susan Scafati, Laura Sturtz, Bryan Trainor.

View the cinemagraph here.

My artwork for the show is in the form of a 7-minute cinemagraph

My artwork is created using my own original technique that synthesizes the artistry of design and photography. I construct immersive environments where I integrate my photos and videos into the spaces and patterns of my drawings. This fusion of mediums allows for interplay between the real and the imagined and offers a unique opportunity to pay homage to Charles Umlauf’s legacy through my own artistic lens.  I am moved by the contemplative setting resonating with Umlauf’s portrayals of the female form, family relationships, and divine themes that give rise to a lyrical dance between art and nature. The cinemagraph I’ve crafted for the Apropos Exhibit celebrates his profound figurative sculptures while embracing the tranquil surroundings of the Sculpture Garden + Museum where they reside. By intertwining the essence of Umlauf’s timeless and classical work with my artistic expression I hope to bridge the gap between past and present. I invite viewers to contemplate the rich heritage of this Austin treasure and immerse themselves in a contemporary artistic experience which may just blur the lines between the tangible and the abstract.a

This exhibit offered a unique opportunity to pay homage to Charles Umlauf’s legacy through my own artistic lens. 

This is the first video that I’ve created that began with the with the end result in mind. (I usually add the motion to my still images)

While the process was much the same in the very beginning, it quickly took a turn to a chance to stretch my technique.

The initial step of my process is to develop an overall design concept. I wanted to share a little about the inspiration behind that…

Trees tend to show up frequently in my work and they certainly show up here as a huge presence in this environment.  So, the direction and inspiration for this artwork was a natural path through the woods, which brought me to one of my favorite paintings by Rene Magritte: “Le Blanc Seing,” (The Blank Signature).

Another bit of inspiration… during my research to know a bit more about the artist himself, I discovered this poem written by Angie Umlauf

“Under the Sycamore” by Angie Umlauf

My Love for You:
You can never know how
Much I love you,
And I can never tell you
No matter how I try.
So just believe me—
It’s more than the
Farthest reach of the ocean’s
Rolling waves,
Endless as the blue of sky.

For me this focused the presence of the love story that emanates though this place and really spoke to the images I chose for the video.

And now the photography part of the process. It was important to me to get to know the art and the gardens. So, I visited multiple times and shot photos and video. I loved wandering and absorbing the peaceful setting full of art and nature.

And I am so grateful I did my shoots before it got too hot. The scenery was lush and green and full of life.

These are some of the photos I captured and used in my artwork.

I was inspired to by the Umlauf’s obvious love of women, family, and God. This is felt in every space of the gardens. So, the images I captured for this piece feature sculptures that I was most drawn to.

This is the resulting drawing that I used to create the composite. And here you can see a still from the video.


And here you can see a still from the video.

When you watch the video artwork, keep an eye out for little surprises, there are a couple of dragonfly landings in the pond segments, as well as a few butterflies.



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A selection of my works are available in standard sizes at: saatchiart.com/LeslieKell