with Leonardo Drew
Blackened Plywood Shards Rupture Inside Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Chapel in Leonardo Drew’s New Installation
In the cavernous 18th-century chapel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a new installation by artist Leonardo Drew (previously) explodes toward the ceiling in a massive plume, scatting shards, dust, and tiny fragments of material around the space. Titled “Number 360,” the work is comprised of blackened and painted plywood that brings chaos and destruction to the otherwise stark, quiet sanctuary. The central surge of the installation reaches five meters tall to fill the entirety of the chapel’s nave, while small paths are left clear to move through the immersive rupture.
Born in Tallahassee but raised in Connecticut’s notorious Bridgeport Housing Project, Drew spent much of his childhood scrounging waste materials and repurposing them into what were his earliest artworks. This commitment to regenerate what’s been left to decay remains central to his practice today, and many of his pieces reuse materials from earlier projects. “Number 360,” for example, utilizes the same fractured plywood as that of “Number 341,” which the artist made in 2022 for Art Basel: Unlimited in Switzerland.
To achieve the rough, grainy texture of the individual components, Drew mixed sand into acrylic paints, a choice that stems from several visits to porcelain studios in Jingdezhen, China, where he witnessed the ceramic works exploding in the kiln, leaving earthen particles and shards in their wake. The artist also evokes the high-pressure nature of that process, conveying a tense and violent energy in an otherwise calm space.
“Number 360” is on view through October 29. Find more from Drew on his site and Instagram.
Share this story
Monumental Aged Wood Constructions by Leonardo Drew
Leonardo Drew is an artist known for his large wall-mounted sculptures composed of jagged tree trunks layered with thousands of segments of cut wood. The monumental installations perform as abstracted landscapes, which undulate and retract through a combination of natural and man-made shapes.
Although typically monochromatic, the works vary in color depending on how extensively Drew chooses to alter the material’s exterior. In some works, the wood is stark black, while in others the light wood appears relatively untreated.
“By manipulating the wood and other objects to weather and age them, Drew’s awe-inspiring sculptures reveal the artist’s intense attention to shaping, cutting, building, and working his pieces through his own material language,” explains a press release for Drew’s eponymous solo exhibition at Talley Dunn Gallery this past fall. “These densely stacked and layered sculptures activate the spaces in which they occupy with a dynamic presence whereby complexity and simplicity coexist.”
Drew’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including 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.
Recently Drew produced an installation for San Francisco’s de Young Museum titled Number 197, a work that responded to the institution’s unique architecture by spanning three walls of its atrium. This fall he also exhibited at Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas, Texas where his solo exhibition Leonardo Drew was on view through December 16.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.