Transformative landscapes: Leonardo Drew's first solo show in Asia

The strangely beautiful and organic forms created largely from natural materials
Pearl Lam galleries presents Leonardo Drew’s first solo exhibition in Asia at the Pedder Building Gallery in Hong Kong
(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

A series of extraordinary abstract landscapes comprising scraps of wood, paper and steel screws have taken up residence on the walls of Pearl Lam’s eponymous Pedder Building gallery. The strangely beautiful and organic forms created largely from natural materials, are the work of American sculptor Leonardo Drew.

The Brooklyn-based artist draws heavily on his own personal history growing up in a public housing project where the local city landfill became his childhood playground, and where he first began experimenting with found materials to create highly textural pieces.

Fast forward 30 years and Drew is still playing, albeit now at a gigantic scale and where the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, collect his works. 

This exhibition, his first solo showing in Hong Kong, comprises ten new works made from wood, a mixed media work and works on paper. It also marks the first time colour features in his works. ‘The works are numbered, not given titles, so that the viewer can have their own experience,’ the artist explains.

Although working with natural materials is not new, it is Drew’s meticulous compression and layering of materials that sets his work apart. The intriguing result is achieved by painstakingly placing each piece by hand, layer by layer with some of his larger works taking five years to complete.

The artist also often subjects his materials to transformational processes. Here, Number 9C and Number 14C have been oxidised or burnt to look ‘fresh and weathered, abstractly signifying the various stages of life.’ He says, ‘I wish there were 34 hour days. I find the process of creating very important; it is like a meditation which is just as well otherwise I’d go crazy.’

Scupltures come from, using found materials to create highly textural pieces

Growing up in Brooklyn, Drew’s childhood playground was the local city landfill, where the roots of his experimental scupltures come from, using found materials to create highly textural pieces

(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

Fresh and weathered, abstractly signifying the various stages of life’

Pictured: No 14C, by Leonardo Drew, 2015, which has been oxidized or burnt to look ‘fresh and weathered, abstractly signifying the various stages of life’

(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

Wood, paper, metal screws with the abstract sculptural forms the pieces make up

Through his work, Drew combines the visceral qualities of the materials he uses (wood, paper, metal screws) with the abstract sculptural forms the pieces make up

(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

Leonardo Drew with his work at Pedder Gallery

Pictured: Leonardo Drew with his work at Pedder Gallery, Hong Kong

(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

Pieces of Jackson Pollock and Piet Mondrian

Drew's inspirations shine through his work, for example the abstract pieces of Jackson Pollock and Piet Mondrian

(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

Fractious Brooklyn is present in the highly layered, textural pieces

Art as meditation: the atmosphere of busy, fractious Brooklyn is present in the highly layered, textural pieces, but at once it disappears as Drew describes his method of work as a form of escapism

(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

Leonardo Drew’s solo exhibition

Leonardo Drew’s solo exhibition can be seen from 13 November – 31 December, 2015

(Image credit: The artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

INFORMATION
Leonardo Drew is on view at Pearl Lam Galleries until 31 December, 2015. For more information, visit the Pearl Lam website (opens in new tab) 

Photography: Courtesy the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries

ADDRESS

6/F, Pedder Building
12 Pedder Street
Hong Kong

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