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Leonardo Drew: Cycles


Leonardo Drew’s prints, at once powerfully large yet fragile, test the versatility of the medium, transforming cotton paper pulp and pigment into what suggests densely populated cities, a forest, or an urban wasteland. They sometimes look like maps of geographical landscapes viewed from above, while others are reminiscent of the night sky and distant galaxies. Evocative of fire, soil, sky, and water, there are strong perceptions in both microcosmic and macrocosmic scale.
Organic forms within the composition undulate with various textures and luminosities, pushing the boundaries of its materiality. Much like his sculptural installations in wood, Drew starts with a raw material, transforming and reconstructing its essence until it resembles debris. Through this process, the artist articulates diverse histories of chaos, and cycles of birth and death.

Several examples of the artist’s sculptures will also be on view. Using a variety of off-the-shelf materials (wood, cardboard, paint, paper, plastic, rope, and string) combined with natural materials such as branches or tree trunks, Drew subjects these elements to processes of oxidation, burning, and weathering. These labor-intense manipulations mimic natural processes and transforms these objects into sculptures that address both formal and social concerns, as well as the cyclical nature of existence.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Leonardo Drew was born in 1961 in Tallahassee, FL, and grew up in Bridgeport, CT. His talent and passion for art was recognized at an early age, and first exhibited his work at the age of 13. He attended the Parsons School of Design and received his BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1985.

Recent solo museum exhibitions include shows at de Young Museum, San Francisco (2017); SCAD Museum of Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design (2013); Beeler Gallery at the Columbus College of Art & Design (2013); Palazzo Delle Papesse, Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena (2006); Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2001); and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (2000). Drew’s mid-career survey, Existed, premiered at the Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston in 2009. The exhibition went on to the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, and the de Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA.

Drew’s work is included in numerous public and private collections. Public collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville; and Tate, London. He has collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and has participated in artist residencies at ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, among others. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize by The Studio Museum in Harlem.