Valley Sentinal - Pleasanton, CA. - August 2011
"The James Leonard abstract art exhibition features a wealth of his paintings that inspire emotion and awe. Leonard’s use of color palettes are vibrant, with a subtlety of composition and textural complexity. There’s movement and grace to the work, an inherent mastery of the form and undeniable power."
ARTnews Magazine - May 2010
"James Leonard’s diptych Movement Downstream looks like multi-colored windowpanes."
Urban Tulsa Weekly - Tulsa, OK. - July 2010
"Leonard's compositions are entirely non-representational and move the viewer's eye vertically or horizontally across the space. This basic movement is complicated by layers of dripped, speckled and fragmented colors that infuse not only a rich language of color, but also a visual history left to be discovered by the eye as it moves across the surface. Leonard's inventive layering process results in heavy impasto, or textured, surfaces with a glossy, wet shine making them particularly beautiful when seen in person."
Burnaway.org, June, 2009
"James Leonard’s acrylic paintings are a blurry movement of colors—as if you were passing through a downtown cityscape at lightning speed with colors swirling all around you. The colors and the horizontal bands promote a visceral response."
Bottom Line Arts, June 22, 2008
"The primary draw of James’ art, what sets his work apart from the output of other abstract painters, is his color palette."
San Francisco, September 1, 2007
"How refreshing to see some gutsy abstract art. I grew up in New York, practically lived in the Museum of Modern Art. I am also an abstract painter and find it hard in wine country to find painters of like sensibilities. Bravo!!!"
ArtScene, September 3, 2006
"James Leonard’s paintings embody the dissonance and harmony, and unconventional juxtapositions of contemporary classical music. They are visually distinguished by mostly unconventional combinations of heavily impastoed beiges and purples, reds and blues. If nouveau-abstract painting has entered the realm of decorative art, there is no danger of that here. Leonard leaves viewers plenty of room to construct their own narratives around shapes and colors. There is no way you can be indifferent; one either loves or hates them. As Eldridge Cleaver once said under different circumstances, “you’re either on the bus or off the bus."
Laguna Beach Coast Line Pilot, April 19, 2005
"Leonard nods to his predecessors in abstract expressionism, but has clearly developed his work into a mature style full of energy and passion. There is lightheartedness here, but this work is no joke. Its earnestness makes it “modern.” Leonard mostly relies on pulling layers of color through each other. He uses white like a master, allowing it to pick up the hues of the colors around it but still retain its “whiteness.” This operation is on a huge scale. To see how a modernism’s energy and confidence play out in expressionism, look at Collection of Stars and Flying in Red."
San Diego News, April 29, 2004
"Leonard works in an introspective, intuitive fashion, painting glorious hues of magenta ribbons in an abstract manner."
Laguna Beach News-Post, March 16, 2000
"Because Leonard allows his work to evolve, figures began to appear on the canvas. Spritely, ethereal apparitions, some white, some black, rendered with gestural strokes, seem to dance on Leonard’s luminous fields of color."
GUEST JUROR SAN DIEGO MUSEUM OF THE LIVING ARTIST 2004, PETER GORDON
"I’m looking for a work that makes me want to look twice - not something I’ve seen countless times before. And when I look at an work, I want to feel as if the artist is self-assured about his/her medium and technique and that both are in the service of the idea or image, not vice-versa."
"As I was researching this article, (Summer in the City: New York Exhibition Guide), I discovered an image (a painting by James Leonard) which continued to haunt me as I wrote. It’s a good example of some of the new talent who will be showcased this summer."
St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 5, 1997
"Leonard provides a sense of movement and unrest with visible brush strokes of vibrant color inside the ordered shapes. But when Leonard subverts this pattern-as he does in the majority of these works - he then moves from being simply a good practioner of compositional abstraction and into the real of a powerful painter."
Santa Fe New Mexican, August 9, 1996
"Painter James Leonard wants to take the viewer on a journey into the soul. Forget the obvious and the superficial. His abstract paintings ask to be penetrated."