Leigh Behnke (born 1946) is an American painter based in Manhattan in New York City, who is known for multi-panel, representational paintings that scrutinize perception, experience and interpretation. She gained response in the 1980s, during an epoch of renewed immersion in imagery and Contemporary Realism.
Her paintings complement meticulous, realist technique, formal rigor commonly united with abstraction, and postmodern conceptual strategies, such as fragmentation and deconstruction. Behnke's art has been exhibited by the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Design Museum; she has been Included in major exhibitions on American Realism and watercolor at the Duke University Museum of Art and Neuberger Museum of Art, and major traveling shows, such as "Real, Really Real, Super Real" (1980–1, San Antonio Museum of Art), "American Realism: 20th Century Drawings and Watercolors" (1985–7, San Francisco Museum of Art), and "New York Realism—Past and Present" (1994–5, Kagoshima City Museum of Art; Tampa Museum of Art).
Her play-act belongs to the public art collections of the New York Public Library, New York Historical Society, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, among others, and has been discussed in Artforum, Arts Magazine, ARTnews, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Artforum critic Ronny Cohen described her take action as a "sophisticated assault on the conventions of seeing underlying pictorial illusionism"; writing virtually her cityscapes, John Yau called Behnke "an archaeologist of light, a stark factualist." In 2013, she was credited with a Guggenheim Fellowship; a monograph virtually her work, Leigh Behnke: Real Spaces, Imagined Lives, was published in 2005. Behnke teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and is married to the photorealist painter Don Eddy.