Joanne Lefrak

Born: 1977, Long Branch, NJ

Biography and Information


Joanne Lefrak is an artist, museum educator, and teacher. Her work has been exhibited at MASS MoCA,ev+a in Ireland,Albuquerque Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Art, among others and has been reviewed in Art in America, Huffington Post, the Boston Globe,art ltd., and in many other national and international magazines and blogs. Lefrak is the Director of Education and Curator of Public Practice at SITE Santa Fe and a strong advocate for promoting women in the arts. She lives and works in Santa Fe, NM.

Joanne Lefrak (b. 1977) creates cast shadow drawings by scratching into plexiglass surfaces. In this series, Lefrak draws fictional landscapes from dioramas at the infamous American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the backgrounds of notable films. Lefrak questions what delineates a real landscape from a fake one as these landscapes are manufactured but are found in real life. The impermanent nature of shadows further accentuates this question of reality.

In questioning if a fictional landscape is a “real” place, I use the technique of a cast shadow drawing.  – Joanne Lefrak

Joanne Lefrak
(b. 1977) scratches portraits of women she knows into plexiglass surfaces. Authenticity is  primary. Her portraits are not idealized and she is not concerned with social obsessions for youth or perfection, rather Lefrak’s subjects are middle aged women who are fully empowered and in the prime of their lives. The shadows cast from the scratched renderings define each image, showing the beauty of persona, age, and the power of the women.

The women I have been making portraits of have an empowered/powerful presence. They are all middle-aged, which in our youth-focused culture has a negative connotation especially when it comes to women. Quite the contrary though, these women are in the prime of their lives – deeply engaged with careers and full of presence and energy. Authenticity is a huge part of this work – in opposition to digital filters and poses for the male gaze (and the insecurity often displayed in social media selfies), the intention is to depict women as they are, in their true authentic form. – Joanne Lefrak

MFA, Studio Art, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

BS, Studio Art, Minor, Art History, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY

Solo and Two Person Exhibitions
Joanne Lefrak • Fictional Landscapes, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

Summertime at Pie Projects: Joanne Lefrak & Martha Tuttle, Richard Levy Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Pilgrimage (two person), Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM

Treasure Sites, Leslie Sacks Contemporary, Santa Monica

Treasure Sites, William Siegal Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Past as Presence, Box Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Joanne Lefrak, Box Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Joanne Lefrak, Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe

Group Exhibitions
Collectors Eye, Offroad Productions, Santa Fe, NM

Beauty is the Antidote, Santa Fe Collective, Electric Pony Studios, Los Angeles, CA

(INFRA) STRUCTURE: complex, below and further on, Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NM
Interstated, Offroad Productions, Santa Fe, NM
Black/White, William Shearburn Gallery, Saint Louis, MO
SITE Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, NM 2015
Double Vision, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
Wade Wilson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
Scene and Unseen, Cinnabar Gallery, San Antonio, TX
Axle Indoors, Peter’s Projects, Santa Fe, NM 2014
SITE Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, NM

Changing Perceptions of the Western Landscape,  Albuquerque Museum, NM Alcoves, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM

SITE Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, NM

666 Six Artists, Six Cities, Six Connections, Queen’s Nails, San Francisco, CA; Linda Durham Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM; Lloyd Dobler Gallery, Chicago IL; Popp’s Packing; Detroit, MI; Gallery 37-A, Portland, ME; and Pterodactyl, Philadelphia, PA

InVisible, Art at the Edge of Perception, curated by Katia Zavistovski, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
SITE Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, NM

The Wonder Salon, Linda Durham Contemporary Art
Cold Beer Beautiful Girls, William Shearburn Gallery
Alternative Spaces, curated by Laura Addison, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe

Paper Cuts, curated by Bobbie Foshay, Frederieke Taylor Gallery, NY, NY Renaissance, Eileen Braziel Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
SITE Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, NM
Beaux Arts, Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM
Black or White, Eileen Braziel Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

Loosely Joined, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM (Exhibition Catalogue)
ev+a; A Sense of Place, curated by Klaus Ottmann, Born Vincent Gallery, Limerick, Ireland (Exhibition Catalog)

Response, Salon Mar Graff, Tesuque, NM
Back to Nature, Contemporary Artists Center, North Adams, MA
White Leaves/Black Shadows, Gallery ZIPP, Glorieta, NM
SITE Unseen, SITE Santa Fe, NM

Metamorphosis, Beaux Arts Ball & Auction, Center for Contemporary Arts, 
Santa Fe, NM
On the Verge of Structural Failure, Albuquerque Contemporary Art Center, NM
BLOC-BUSTA, Department of Cultural Affairs, Santa Fe, NM & Katrina Lasko Gallery, Bernalillo, NM (Exhibition Catalogue)

Joanne Lefrak, Katrina Lasko Gallery, Bernalillo, NM
Albuquerque Contemporary, Albuquerque Museum, NM (Exhibition Catalogue)

Joanne Lefrak, Katrina Lasko Gallery, Bernalillo, NM
Moving Through Light, CCG, Portland, OR

The Science of Medicine, McKinsey Corporation, Florham Park, NJ
Group Show at the Mop Tsu Oh Art Center, operated by the Art Guys, Houston, TX
5, White Box — the Annex, NYC, NY, curated by David Levi Strauss

Snapshot, The Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD
Group Show, curated by Dominique Nahas, Midland Gallery, Montclair, NJ
Faith, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT, collaboration with Osvaldo Romberg

Albuquerque Public Art
Steve and Karen Berkowitz, Santa Fe, NM
Corrales Fire Department, through New Mexico Arts
Fidelity Investments
Lannan Foundation
Larry Hinz, Santa Fe, NM
Marlene Nathan Meyerson, NY
William and Alicia Miller, Santa Fe, NM
Charles and Barbara Moore, Santa Fe, NM
New Mexico Arts
New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM
Cindy Miscikowski, Los Angeles
Arnold and Lorlee Tenenbaum, Atlanta, GA
Andrew Wallerstein and Mary Sloane, Santa Fe, NM

Animating Museums, MCA Denver

Roswell Artist in Residency Program (month of February)

Bullseye Glass Artist in Residency Program

Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Santa Fe, NM

2012  & 2006
Creative Capital, Professional Development Grant

I-Park, Artists Enclave, East Haddam, CT, Full Fellowship

Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, Full Fellowship


Adrian Gomez, A slice of support for art: Pie Projects collaborative gallery backs creativity, Albuquerque Journal, June 20

Peter Frank, Haiku Reviews, Huffington Post, March 13

Kathryn M Davis, Top Summer Shows You Can Still Catch: North and South, Huffington Post, September 8
Kullberg, Malissa, Past as Presence, Joanne Lefrak at Box Gallery, Santa Fe Downtown,  August 28, 2010
Kathryn Crocker, Past as Presence: Joanne Lefrak, Adobeairstream, August 25
Zavistovski, Katia, Come Curious, Art:21 blog, June 7
Oliver Wunsch, Phemomenowhat?, Art:21 blog,  April 28
Smee, Sebastian, For Art Lovers, Western Mass. Awaits, The Boston Globe. March 7
Mitchell, John E, For MoCA Artist: Past is a Presence, The North Adams Transcript,  February 12

Douglas Fairfield, The Wonder Salon, Linda Durham Contemporary Art, Pasatiempo: The New Mexican. December 4-10, pg 28
Douglas Fairfield, Art in Review: Alternative Spaces, Pasatiempo: The New Mexican, March 5

Harmony Hammond, Signs and Silhouettes, Albuquerque Journal North, August 20
Zane Fischer, Artist Profile: Joanne Lefrak, Art ltd., Sept/Oct, pp. 74-75

Fergal Gaynor, Review Ev+a 2007, CIRCA Art Magazine: Circa120, Season 2007: pp 94-97
King, Sarah, Joanne Lefrak at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Art in America, January, pg. 152
Ross, Alex, Salon Mar Graff: Friday, October 27, 2006, The Magazine, December/ January 2006-07: pg. 67

Alex Ross, Joanne Lefrak, The Magazine, May, pg. 48
Elizabeth Cook-Romero, Going for Beauty, Pasatiempo: The New Mexican, February17-23, pp. 44, 46

Allen, Steven Robert, Culture Shock, The Alibi, October 27-November 2: pg. 18

Press Release
2022 Fictional Landscapes at Richard Levy Gallery
2021 Summertime at Pie Projects at Richard Levy Gallery
2018 Pilgrimage at Richard Levy Gallery