Hong Kong—Pearl Lam Galleries Pedder Building is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of works by Leonardo Drew in Asia, running from 13 November–31 December, 2015. The show comprises of 13 new works by the Brooklyn-based American artist, which will see the introduction of applied colour in his practice for the first time. Drew’s works are made of natural materials, including wood, rusted iron, cotton, and paper. Drawn from historical evidence, the resulting abstract sculptural compositions are an emotional reflection on the cyclical nature of existence, the human condition, and the connectivity of all things.
This exhibition will include ten new works made from wood, one of Drew’s staple materials, in various states. While much of his work appears to be constructed with old, oxidised or burnt matter, Drew sources new materials and subjects them to transformational processes before assembling them into larger works. In addition, many of the works on display will demonstrate the introduction of colour into the artist’s practice, as opposed to the colours that naturally occur during the transformational process. The exhibition will also include a mixed media work, as well as two new works on paper.
Leonardo Drew b. 1961 grew up in a public housing project in Bridgeport, Connecticut in an apartment surrounded by the city landfill. He vividly recalls the ecosystem of the dump, from the machinery employed to manage it, to the seagulls and smells associated with it. Drew’s realisation that this was ‘God’s mouth’, representing both ‘the beginning and the end’ had a profound impact on the artist and his later work. Influenced further by abstract expressionism and the work of Jackson Pollock and Piet Mondrian, Drew’s work places an emphasis on concept, materiality, and process, while melding it with a narrative that meditates on the humanity and the nature of existence. In addition, Drew travelled extensively during the 1990s, finding himself particularly affected by the Zen Buddhist approach to life and death that he was exposed to during his time in Japan.
The work of Leonardo Drew is exclusively sculptural. His seminal work, Number 8, features rope, animal hide, raccoon skull and a dead bird, which are hung together and painted black, creating a dark three-dimensional take on Pollock’s all-over drip painting. Through his work, Drew reflects on the universality of existence and the interconnectivity of all beings to one another. He illustrates these relationships through a combination of the visceral qualities of the materials with the abstract sculptural forms the pieces make up. These cosmological frameworks are meant to mirror the organic reality of existence and reveal the resonance of life and humanity.
“It is a great pleasure for us to welcome Leonardo Drew to Hong Kong for his first solo exhibition in Asia. Owing to his multifaceted practice and expanding reflections on the nature of existence, Leonardo remains an important and ever-relevant figure in contemporary art.” — Pearl Lam, Founder of Pearl Lam Galleries
About Leonardo Drew
Leonardo Drew was born in 1961 in Tallahassee, Florida, and he grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Drew seemed bound to work as a professional artist from a young age; his works were exhibited publically for the first time when he was only 13 years old. By the age of 15 he was being courted by both DC and Marvel Comics to work as an illustrator. However, Drew would apply his talents to a very different artistic path. He became inspired by abstract works, especially those of Jackson Pollock and Piet Mondrian. Drew went on to attend the Parsons School of Design in New York, and he earned a BFA from Cooper Union in 1985. Leonardo Drew’s work has been exhibited across the USA and internationally. Major solo exhibitions include Vigo Gallery, London, UK (2015); Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, USA (2014); Selected Works, SCAD Museum of Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, USA (2013); Existed: Leonardo Drew, Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston, Houston, USA (2009); Palazzo Delle Papesse, Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena, Italy (2006); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA (2000); The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY, USA (2000); and Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, USA (1995). Recent major group exhibitions include Unsuspected Possibilities, SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (2015); Summer Group Show, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland (2014); Material World, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, USA (2013); Museum of Art and Design, New York, USA (2012); From Then to Now: Masterworks of Contemporary African American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH, USA (2010); Lost and Found: Selections from the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, USA (2010); and Black Alphabet: Contexts of Contemporary African American Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2006). Leonardo Drew’s works are also held internationally in public and private collections such as with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA; and the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ, USA.
About Pearl Lam Galleries
Founded by Pearl Lam, Pearl Lam Galleries is a driving force within Asia's contemporary art scene. With over 20 years of experience exhibiting Asian and Western art and design, it is one of the leading and most established contemporary art galleries to be launched out of China. Playing a vital role in stimulating international dialogue on Chinese and Asian contemporary art, the Galleries is dedicated to championing artists who re-evaluate and challenge perceptions of cultural practice from the region. The Galleries in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore collaborate with renowned curators, each presenting distinct programming from major solo exhibitions, special projects, and installations to conceptually rigorous group shows. Based on the philosophy of Chinese Literati where art forms have no hierarchy, Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to breaking down boundaries between different disciplines, with a unique gallery model committed to encouraging cross-cultural exchange. Contemporary Chinese Abstract art is heavily represented in the Galleries roster. Influential Chinese artists Zhu Jinshi and Su Xiaobai, who synthesise Chinese sensibilities with an international visual language, are presented internationally with work now included in major private and public collections worldwide. The Galleries has also introduced leading international artists such as Leonardo Drew, Jenny Holzer, Carlos Rolón/ Dzine and Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) to markets in the region, providing opportunities for new audiences in Asia to encounter their work. Pearl Lam Galleries encourages international artists to create new work which engages specifically with the region-collaborating to produce thought-provoking, culturally relevant work.