Leigh Davis & Michelle Levy

January 27th—April 6th



“Our memory is not made for the past, but for the future”.

—Roland Benoit


Spectral Lines announces its sixth exhibition, Immemorial, featuring photographic works by Leigh Davis and a video by Michelle Levy.


Immemorial delves into our intricate psychological connections with the birth and death cycle through photographs, videos, collages, and film. Davis and Levy focus our awareness on human connection through morphic fields, utilizing the influence of our perception of the spaces between the past, present, and future. In their extensive interdisciplinary exploration, they navigate familial constellations across timelines, directing us toward the concept of quantum entanglement. The works in the exhibition are an invitation to step into both artists' ancestral practices and join them on intimate journeys of human interconnections that intersect through research, memory, and embodiment.


After an unusual and profound event following the death of her father, interdisciplinary artist Leigh Davis began building a body of work exploring end-of-life experiences. Feeling Tones acts as a media repository, where future memories are captured, collected, stored, and retrieved to translate intangible experiences into more permanent, shareable forms. With a particular focus on how abstraction, imagery, and non-linear narrative help us process discomfort and imagine decisions based on assumptions about our lives and deaths, the project invites others to feel into and share experiences of embodied memory, a process complicated by the uncertainty of death.


The collection of collages/photographs on view stems from Davis' image archive, built over 20 years. The archive is a form of reorganizing according to Davis' own taxonomy. Creating this collection allows a reinvesting into past and present images to create a new kind of visual language.


For the past seven years, artist and storyteller Michelle Levy has been immersed in an expanding art/life work shaped by twists and turns of events, accidental meetings, and unexpected discoveries. While trying to repair voids in her matrilineage, Levy's life became unexpectedly intertwined with the story of a stranger, a Polish Jewish woman named Paulina. In the fall of 2018, Levy left her home and job to move to Poland to investigate the 1945 wartime testimony of this supposed ancestor, who lost her family and survived on her own throughout Nazi-occupied Poland. The heart of Michelle's investigation was a road trip with her Polish counterpart, Patrycja Dołowy, a Polish-Jewish "midwife" to untold stories, retracing Paulina's wartime path. Their plans went beautifully off-track when a series of strange errors and coincidences led to a veritable confrontation with the dead. In this evolving performance – culminating as a film – Levy takes the audience on her journey between the US and Poland, the past, present, and future, to share how one woman's story, decades after death, changed the course of her life.


For Immemorial, Levy shows a short video sequence offered as a gesture toward her feature-length film, which is currently in production. A woven story of past events plays in an independent loop throughout the exhibition. At the same time, the unfolding tales of the present and future are shared personally by the artist in several live events.



​Leigh Davis is an interdisciplinary artist. Her work explores grief, memory, and storytelling – how these universal experiences help define what it means to be human. Trained as a photographer, her work now ranges across media, from sculpture and installation to sound, performance, and video. In recent years, Davis has been producing a body of work about end-of-life experiences (ELEs)—in particular, how they help us understand the emotional intricacy of grief and the ways in which we construct our beliefs about human consciousness and a possible afterlife. Her film project, Inquiry into the ELE (2016-2019), was exhibited at Vox Populi (Philadelphia). Her site-based audio installation, Vigil, featured at Green-Wood Cemetery (Brooklyn). Davis has shown work at Open Source Gallery (Brooklyn), BRIC (Brooklyn), EFA Project Space (New York), Oliver Art Center at CCA (Oakland), The Kreeger Museum (DC) and MICA (Baltimore). In 2021, she was selected to be a part of the first Public Interest Design Lab fellowship in-collaboration with the DC Public Library and the Goethe-Institute. Recently, Davis was commissioned by Sound Scene to create the performance OFFERING for the Hirshhorn Museum Plaza (DC). A native of Pittsburgh, she is a Part-Time Assistant Professor at Parsons the New School for Design and currently works between Brooklyn, NY and Washington, D.C.


Michelle Levy is an interdisciplinary artist, storyteller, writer, and cultural organizer based in Brooklyn, New York. Working within a framework of “the search” and “research,” Levy explores the mediated spaces where identity is constructed. While inside her investigations, Levy allows herself to be vulnerable to the events that transpire, enabling the audience to project themselves onto and connect with her journey. Her works unfold over an extended duration until they reach a resolution or moment of natural rest. Levy has presented work at venues including Abrons Art Center, Dixon Place, Flux Factory, Glasshouse Gallery, Gowanus Studio Space, La MaMa Galleria, Littlefield, Magnet Theater, NURTUREart, Pete’s Candy Store, Secret Project Robot, Spectacle Theater, and Theaterlab in New York City, Grizzly Grizzly (Philadelphia), Machine Project (Los Angeles), Festivalt (Krakow), Galicia Jewish Museum (Kraków) Instytut Teatralny (Warsaw), Kana Theater (Szczecin) POLIN Museum (Warsaw), and Center and Foundation for Contemporary Art (Prague).


The Paulina Project has been supported in the past by Asylum Arts, Festivalt, Kana Theater, Emmanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, POLIN Museum for the History of Polish Jews, and US Embassy, Warsaw. The film, in early production, is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. It has received support from the Jewish Association Czulent, Tarbut Foundation, Union Docs Early Production Lab, and The Neighborhood, Brooklyn. It is a fiscally sponsored project of the New York Foundation of the Arts.