These monumental works were created by casting objects in handmade cotton paper pulp and pigment with etched imagery on metal plates, resulting in an embossed surface of strong physicality and energy. Not unlike his large-scale sculptural installations in wood, Leonardo Drew starts with a raw material transforming and reconstructing its essence, until it resembles debris. Organic forms reveal themselves with various textures and luminosities. The work straddles the mediums of sculpture and painting – redefining and reinventing the printmaking process.
Through his process, the artist articulates cycles of chaos and order, life and death. Tree branches, roots, paper, raw cotton, rust, and mud are materials used by Drew to choreograph complex, textured forms rich in historical and cultural references.
Drew has been making artwork since childhood, and first exhibited 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 he has shown in a variety of institutions such as The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, Ireland, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Miami Art Museum, and the St. Louis Art Museum. He has also collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and has participated in artist residencies at ArtPace, San Antonio and The Studio Museum of Harlem in New York City, among others.
Drew’s mid-career survey exhibition, Existed: Leonardo Drew, debuted in 2009 at the Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston and traveled to the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA. A monograph of his work was published in conjunction with the survey by Giles, Ltd., London.
Drew lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.