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Leonardo Drew: Epic Mythologies of Detritus
by Rebecca Dimling Cochran

“You don’t find art, art finds you,” explains Leonardo Drew, who began creating things at an early age. At age 48, Drew is the subject of a traveling survey that presents 26 of his most significant sculptures and drawings to date. Organized by Claudia Schmuckli of the Blaffer Art Gallery in Houston (and on view through May 9 at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina), the show illustrates the development of an artist driven by a desire to explore and challenge himself in unusual and inventive ways. His personal vocabulary, while well defined, never remains static, and throughout his work reveals a meticulous obsession with the craft of making art.

This personal style began in earnest during Drew’s college years. Up until then, he had been a child prodigy of sorts, recognized for his skill from the age of 13. While his four brothers were into athletics and constantly roamed the Bridgeport, Connecticut, streets, Drew preferred to stay in the room that they all shared drawing and painting in a style he likens to that of Norman Rockwell. While in high school, Drew saw Jackson Pollock’s work, which he says, “Started showing up in my work. Even with the kind of paintings I was doing, there were all kinds of flourishes and it was obvious that I was throwing paint and trying to get this energy. That’s when I decided there might be something else to this ‘making art.’” The idea only gained strength when he traveled to New York in 1980 to see a Picasso exhibition at MoMA.

Number 114T, 2007.
Graphite, paint, and wood, 23 x 23 in.

Image: D. James Dee


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