University Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Massachusetts Amherst
September 20 – December 8, 2019
The University Museum of Contemporary Art presents Leonardo Drew: Cycles From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. 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.