Leonardo Drew’s show at the deCordova Museum is strong, clear and grounded. Drew has artistic tendencies I admire, the same ones that separate his approach and his work from the current art mainstream. His is a quiet defiance because there is no raised fist or defensiveness, just the masterful seduction into a world where a discarded wood fragment can be its own universe of breathtaking beauty. Where a wall of found and slightly modified artifacts is a feast for the eye and one’s inner sensibilities.
Drew’s show brought me to a place of delight similar to how I felt at the Gabriel Orozco show at the MOMA earlier this year. (My post about that show is here.) They both ask you to stop and reconsider your expectations. As reported by Deborah Solomon in her review, Orozco said, “I don’t want to be a master. I want to be a kid. To keep making art, you have to put yourself in the position of a beginner. You have to be excited by a stone on the sidewalk or, like a child, the flight of a bird.” That same purity of experience is very present in Drew’s work.
I saw Drew’s show in Chelsea last spring. Seeing his work in person and sitting with its quiet viscerality made it easy to become a fan. (I wrote about that show at Sikkema Jenkins here.) My friend, artist and blogger Nancy Natale which I recommend reading in its entirety here. And to close, this wonderful quote by artist James Croak from his Artnet review of the Sikkema Jenkins show. It is just so good:
It is interesting to reconsider certain ideas of modernism sans the bullying adherents who jammed it down the gullets of generations of visual artists and architects. It was the Way, the Truth and the Light, and ridicule was piled on those who deviated from the received truth. But those days are long gone and today modernism reappears like a cantankerous uncle who went missing for 30 years and now unexpectedly drops by the house — one is more curious than guarded and there are great stories to hear about fine art before it became mixed with the wares of F.W. Woolworth.
A few more images from the Drew show: