Leonardo Drew at the Weatherspoon
A couple of weeks ago, I took an evening off and went to Greensboro to a workshop at the Weatherspoon. There was a short component for teachers, followed by a kind of community-wide invitation to make a sculpture– or three, to be exact. My one word description of the evening was “fun”.
The current exhibition of the installations and sculptures of Leonardo Drew were the jumping off place for the workshop. The work is very dense and rich. The palette is restrained– the white of paper, the red of rust, the brown of wood. Much of the work is compartmentalized– assemblages of found objects. Even more wonderful are the cast paper objects that appear in the work. Like toys and tools constructed from eggshell they fascinate with their fragility and exactness. Some of the work evokes Pollock, with skeins of cast paper or other materials, put together in relief. Real space instead of implied space. The scale is monumental, in many cases. Particularly arresting were, however, the small framed paper reliefs, influenced by the artist’s travels in Japan.
The workshop exercise involved retired doctors, engineers, moms, artists, students, professors and who knows what else rubbing elbows. We were given three mason jars to serve as compartments, and told to bring found objects to work with in creating three pieces. I was so irritated by the mason jars with their little embossed apples and pears on the surface that I worked hard to lose the jar, dignify the jar, deny the jar.
Teaching a sculpture class has sensitized me to the use of color in sculpture, so I worked with a stack of white paper lunch bags and transparent beads to make an piece that was a kind of polite explosion.
A second piece became an illuminated cloud when I put a light source inside the jar and enclosed the jar in a blown up bag. Over the cloud flew a found goose.
The third piece I covered with masking tape, stacking component parts of the jar and lid to make as tall a totem as I could. She bore a half of a face I’d found on the ground in my school’s parking lot. She had breasts that were a milagro, slightly rusted. I had golden paper wings in my stash– just in case I might ever need them. The were attached to the totem’s back. Twigs made arms and legs, she looked perfectly ethereal.