Leonardo Drew is a builder and maker on an epic scale. He creates dynamic, abstract sculptures and installations that explode and expand into their surroundings. His work defies gravity, disrupting normal conventions of time and space. They convey a feeling of barely contained or restrained energy and chaos. “I think of it as making chaos legible,” Drew says. I quoted his wonderful phrase in the title of our exhibition of Drew’s work, open now through January 3, 2021.
Hybrids of painting and sculpture, tactile and textured, his artworks are palpably and potently physical. These complex creations are the result of an obsessively additive process of assemblage and collage, a rhythmic stacking, layering, and building, where more always has precedence over less.
Comprising a wide range of media—wood, cotton, canvas, paper, steel, aluminum, paint, sand—Drew’s mixed-media wall works, free-standing sculptures, installations, and works on paper are carefully orchestrated illusions of age and decay. A highly skilled craftsman, Drew meticulously and deliberately ages and distresses new materials by painting, burning, staining, corroding, scuffing, scratching, chopping, and splintering to create the appearance of found and weathered objects in works of art that explore timeless cycles of deterioration, regeneration, and transformation.
“The viewer’s interpretation is never wrong … I’m just a vessel in this—your read is absolutely essential.”
The NCMA welcomes a new acquisition into its permanent collection: A sculpture by Simone Leigh.
The Czech artist whose name is synonymous with art nouveau claimed proudly that his work was “not for private drawing rooms.”