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Talley Dunn Gallery. Now On View: Leonardo Drew

Leonardo Drew. September 15 – December 15, 2020

Spanning the full length of the newly renovated main galleries, Leonardo Drew marks the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.  Comprehensive and ranging in both media and scale, the exhibition offers a survey of the most recent years of the artist’s career.  Transforming the white walls of the gallery into an undulating abstract landscape of commanding and rigorous compositions, Leonardo Drew’s wall-mounted sculptures invigorate the space with the power of their presence.  Mesmerizing and complex, thousands of seemingly worn scraps of wood, cotton, and plaster evoke the passage of time, nature’s never ending cycle of decay and regeneration.
Leonardo Drew, Number 192T, 2017, Wood and paint, 125h x 132w x 54d in
Leonardo Drew, Number 192T, 2017, Wood and paint, 125h x 132w x 54d in

Drew’s assemblages are at once intensely intricate and incomprehensibly vast.  Jutting tree branches and roots project into the space of the viewer.  Densely layered matt black and vibrantly colored fragments cohere in the realm of the transcendental.  Despite appearing found, Drew’s materials are all created intentionally, manipulated by Drew’s hand in his Brooklyn studio where he attentively and obsessively cuts, washes, and layers.  Drew builds these works in an additive process from materials whose formal qualities imply prior histories: weathered wood, broken bits of painted plaster, torn paper, and bits of string.  His post-minimal assemblages transform seemingly inconsequential fragments of material life into powerful and memorable abstract forms.  Drew poetically positions his work in dualities of the man-made and the organic, representation and abstraction, history and present, life and death.

Leonardo Drew, Number 198T, 2019, Paint, wood and plaster, 50h x 70w x 24d in
Leonardo Drew, Number 198T, 2019, Paint, wood and plaster, 50h x 70w x 24d in

Leonardo Drew was born in Tallahassee, Florida in 1961 and grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  He attended the Parsons School of Design and received his BFA from Cooper Union.  His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions worldwide.  Concurrently with this exhibition, Drew’s work is featured in a solo exhibition, Making Chaos Legible, at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  Recent projects have included an exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Drew’s first large-scale outdoor work, City in the Grass, commissioned by Madison Square Park in New York City.

Leonardo Drew in his studio, Brooklyn, New York
Leonardo Drew in his studio, Brooklyn, New York

Other notable exhibitions and installations have been organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; De Young Museum, San Francisco; VIGO, London; Galleria Napolinobilissima, Naples; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; and Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.  Drew’s work is represented in many prestigious museum collections worldwide including that of the Brooklyn Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Miami Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York;  Sorigue Foundation Collection, Lérida, Spain; St. Louis Art Museum; Studio Museum, Harlem, and Tate, London.

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Written by Martha O'Hara

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