Edward Thorp Gallery presents an exhibition of new works by June Leaf.
June Leaf will show recent work in various media and scales. For these new works Leaf has sourced images from Da Vinci’s Last Supper along with the more familiar themes of the ethereal landscapes of Mabou, Nova Scotia as well as skeletal figures in transformative limbo that dramatically illustrate active rooms. Often these images become intermixed as do the techniques of painting and mechanized sculptures. In the Last Supper tableaus, whole and fragmentary images of sacred nourishment are simultaneously tender and burlesque. Leaf treats sculpture as if it were drawing, feeding off the power of the animated gesture. A tabletop sculpture of a head, for example, becomes monumental through the fluid, atavistic manipulation of thick iron rods. In a strange contradictory fashion Leaf aspires to and achieves a transcendent calm through frantic means: a calm landscape of land, sea and sky reveals itself under scrutiny to be the accumulation of layers of searching and reinterpretation.
With these new works, June brings her range of expressive abilities into full force. As always with her works we are asked to reassess the categories in which we place individual works as she combines drawing and sculpture with painting in the same piece. In a similar fashion she approaches her subjects psychologically with complex combinations of affection, fury, poetry and satire. Often this leaves us questioning whether we are encountering a fascinating yet dangerous stranger or an intimate friend. As Leaf unfolds and refolds the work towards its completion she entertains a multitude of contradictory impulses, which are ultimately resolved in works delivered with an authoritative spontaneity.
It is the intense animation (both literal and metaphorical) of these works that draws us into a dialogue with this mature artist whose works are uniquely American and singularly poetic. And perhaps the nature of a maverick artist such as Leaf to redefine the meaning of the term “visionary” for today’s audience.
June Leaf is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and The Tel Aviv Museum of Art among others. A one-person exhibition of her work was held at the Tinguely Museum in Basel in 2004. She is represented by the Edward Thorp Gallery in New York.