‘Art21’ artist Leonardo Drew to speak at Austin Peay
(Posted Jan. 16, 2019)
The Department of Art + Design, with support from the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, is pleased to welcome “Art21” featured artist, Leonardo Drew, to Austin Peay State University.
“We are really excited to have Leonardo visit APSU for a CECA Visiting Artist Lecture,” said Michael Dickins, chair of the Visiting Artist Speaker Committee. “His name was proposed to the committee last year, and I was familiar with his work via PBS’ ‘Art21’ TV series. Then I was fortunate to experience his work in person, this past March, as his work adorned the entrance to The Armory Show 2018 in New York City. The scale of the work was inescapable, and the texture was mesmerizing. I was fascinated by the obvious amount of labor that went into the piece, and I knew we had to bring him to Clarksville.”
Drew is an artist known for his large wall-mounted sculptures composed of jagged tree trunks layered with thousands of segments of cut wood. The monumental installations perform as abstracted landscapes, which undulate and retract through a combination of natural and man-made shapes.
Memories of his childhood surroundings – from the housing project where he lived to the adjacent landfill – resurface in the intricate grids and configurations of many of his pieces. Never content with work that comes easily, Drew constantly reaches beyond “what’s comfortable” and charts a course of daily investigation, never knowing what the work will be about but letting it find its way, and asking, “What if?”
Drew was born in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1961, and grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Although often mistaken for accumulations of found objects, his sculptures are instead made of “brand new stuff” – materials such as wood, rusted iron, cotton, paper and mud – that he intentionally subjects to processes of weathering, burning, oxidation and decay. Whether jutting out from a wall or traversing rooms as freestanding installations, his pieces challenge the architecture of the space in which they’re shown.
Drew attended Parsons School of Design and received a BFA from Cooper Union. Among the honors and grants he has received are the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize (2011), Asian Cultural Council Grant (1997), Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1994) and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Grant (1993). Drew has been awarded residencies at Artpace (1995), the Studio Museum in Harlem (1991), Vermont Studio School (1990) and Skowhegan (1998). Major exhibitions of his work have appeared at SCAD Museum of Art (2013), DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (2011), Artpace (2010), Weatherspoon Art Museum (2010), Blaffer Gallery (2009), Sikkema Jenkins (2007), Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena (2006), the Fabric Workshop (2002), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2000), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2000), Saint Louis Art Museum (1996), Carnegie International (1995), MCA San Diego (1995) and Biennial Dakar (1992).
Drew lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Drew’s lecture will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 in Room 120 of the Art + Design building.
For more on this lecture, contact Michael Dickins, director of galleries, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All events are free and open to the public. All ages are welcome.