Leonardo Drew is a US American contemporary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He creates sculptures from natural materials and through processes of oxidation, burning, and decay, Drew transforms these objects into massive sculptures that critique social injustices and the cycle of growth and decay in nature.
Drew was born in Tallahassee, Florida, but was raised in the projects of Bridgeport, Connecticut. During his early childhood, Drew often played at a dump by his childhood home. It is here that Drew began to build sculptures from found objects. Drew created works from salvaged trash, and repurposed them to give them a new meaning. He often refers to the dump as “God’s Mouth” because it was a place of death and rebirth.
Leonardo began his professional career at a very young age, exhibiting his work publicly for the first time at the age of 13. His initial work in drawing drew the attention of talent scouts from DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Heavy Metal magazine. After being introduced to abstraction through reproductions of works by artists like Jackson Pollock and receiving inspiration from the process-based work of post-war American and European artists, Drew decided to focus on his fine arts training and immersed himself in exploring his own sense of abstraction. He then went on to attend Parsons School of Design in New York, and received his BFA from Cooper Union in 1985.
His works are part of several major public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Saint Louis Museum, Saint Louis, MO; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; and Pérez Art Museum Miami in Miami, FL. He has also collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, on a production entitled ‘Ground Level Overlay,’ and has participated in several artist residencies including those at ArtPace, San Antonio and The Studio Museum of Harlem in New York, among others.
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