The practice of American artist Leonardo Drew, known for his evocative abstract sculptures assembled from diverse materials including cotton, rust, wood, paper and found objects, is concerned with the rebirth of organic materials. Having found his raw materials, Drew takes them back to the studio and gives them due burial before transforming them into a new life as integral parts of his sculptural creations. The organic nature of his practice, with the use of discarded materials, tells us something very important about the waste inherent in our industrial society at the same time as it draws our attention to the endless capacities of our natural world for regeneration.
Leonardo Drew was born in 1961 in Tallahassee, Florida, and he grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 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.
His work is found in major museum collections around the world including Tate, London, Museum of Modern Art, NY, Solomon Guggenheim Museum, NY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Brooklyn Museum of Art, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art of Boston. Private collections include the Rubell, Hort, Ella Cisneros, and Frankel Collections as well as the Linda Pace Foundation and the David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF).
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.