Steven Goldleaf is a painter whose ongoing current project (since 2008) has its origins in beauty and ugliness, specifically in how we distinguish those two contrary ideas. He paints traditionally beautiful subjects on traditionally ugly material, and asks his viewers how much of their aesthetic judgment concerns the material rather than the paintings themselves.

When he resumed his painting career in the early 2000s, he painted a variety of traditionally beautiful subjects (landscapes, still-lifes, sleeping infants, etc.) on perfectly repulsive material, primarily used, torn, stained, stretched-out size-42 men's underwear––an experiment that proved successful and partly satisfying. "Partly" because his technical ability to paint aesthetically pleasing subjects was hindered by several decades' worth of rust, but while his technique was returning, he got a new idea, of painting that time-honored subject of supreme beauty, the female nude, on the anatomically appropriate parts of various types of used clothing. Finding that denim clothing most closely approximated stretched canvas, he stretched denim clothing in a variety of ways, and is still experimenting with ways of stretching, priming, framing, and hanging denim-painted nudes. A sample of these nude studies on clothing are displayed in the gallery portion of this website.

Formally trained in a series of private painting lessons, followed by years of study in studio art classes at Columbia University, where he took a BA in 1976, he went on to graduate school in creative writing, and took various MA and Ph.D. degrees in creative writing, studying at Boston University, the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Denver, going on to an academic career, publishing fiction and non-fiction, mainly at Pace University in lower Manhattan, where he served as Associate Chair from 2006-2012 of the Department of English. He has exhibited his painting in Manhattan art galleries, most recently (December of 2010) at the Turtle Point gallery in the Woolworth Building, and has completed residencies at most of the major artists' colonies, including the MacDowell Colony, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

In addition to his artwork, he is working on several new books, one of which (entitled ONLY MOSTLY TRUE) is an inter-related series of memoirs, mostly concerned with stressful episodes of his life that, as the title implies, combines elements of absolute truth mixed with a few fictional touches. One of these memoirs, "The Quitter," tells how as a young boy, after an encouraging beginning as a representational painter, he felt compelled to abandon painting, which he loved. (97.4% of "The Quitter" is factually accurate.) Decades after that stressful experience, through writing this memoir, he came to understand what had happened, and why it happened, and resumed his painting career after a hiatus of several decades. The paintings on this website are the joyful result of this realization.