Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Leonardo Drew on view from September 8 through October 8, 2016. The exhibition marks Drew’s fifth solo show at the gallery.
Leonardo Drew is known for his abstract sculptural installations, which incorporate materials such as paper, rope, wood, paint chips, tree branches and roots, and sheet metal. In Drew’s hands, these raw materials are exhaustingly transformed to resemble debris. While artistically rooted in art movements of the 1950s and 60s including abstract expressionism, minimalism, and Arte Povera, Drew - influenced by non-Western philosophical traditions - views his work as a reflection of the cyclical nature of time, the continual processes of transformation, and the connectivity of all things. This is perhaps most evident in the artist’s practice of incorporating parts of earlier works into newer pieces, including several of the works on view in the current exhibition.
Drew’s current work also displays a concrete engagement with language, particularly in works like Number 181, 2016, which includes white stripes reminiscent of lines of text or musical notation. Viewed in detail, the works also recalls ancient writing forms – symbols cut into stone such as hieroglyphics and cuneiform – or possibly letterpress blocks that are worn, reshaped, and reused.
Leonardo Drew was born in 1961 in Tallahassee, Florida, and he grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His natural talent and passion for art was recognized at an early age, first exhibiting his work at the age of 13. He went on to attend the Parsons School of Design and received his BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and art in 1985. Since then his work has been shown in solo exhibitions at notable institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (1995); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC (2000); Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, Ireland (2001); Palazzo Delle Papesse, Centro Arte Contemporanea in Siena, Italy (2006); Beeler Gallery at the Columbus College of Art & Design (2013); and SCAD Museum of Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design (also 2013). Drew’s mid-career survey, Existed, premiered at the Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston in 2009. The exhibition went on to tour the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA.
Drew’s work is included in numerous important public and private collections. Public institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; and Tate, London.
Drew has also collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and has participated in artist residencies at ArtPace, San Antonio and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, among others. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.