From Sharne Wolff…
Coinciding with the release of a new monograph is Sam Leach’s latest exhibition of contemporary painting, The Desire of Things to Move Gravity. As suggested by the title, a new series of paintings and sculptures continue Leach’s ongoing quest to visualise ideas where art and science meet. Although a large panelled painting The Garden of Cantarel revisits the formal architectural design and bold colour seen in Leach’s work of recent years, other paintings head in allied directions.
Leach has used animals in his work for some time. In an interview with Andrew Frost (included in the monograph) Leach explains his reasons. Employing animals as human metaphors he’s hoping to develop empathy while simultaneously pushing to depict each animal “on its own terms”. Here Leach’s animal subjects are portrayed in ambiguous poses. A gazelle uncharacteristically hangs in the air, a pile of spiritless bats occupy an unknown corner while another hides his face but conspicuously exposes his genitals. In a further group of works, anonymous humans in white laboratory costume are engaged in mysterious scientific undertakings. All works are linked by their economy of appearance, dreamy nature and a secret shared language illustrated by the works’ quiet interruption with floating white or pink lavender circles and fading blue diagonals.
Where the compelling, enigmatic qualities of Leach’s work have often resisted description, author Tim Winton may have nailed it in his foreword to the monograph. “These works are preoccupied by the terms of life – the underlying economy of the natural world, the great gifts and burdens of human existence, the largely unexamined lives of non-humans – but like many biological forms they are not instantly forthcoming. Indeed, they often seem to withhold themselves by way of strategy, camouflage, cunning, and for all its conceptual front and bravura technique, it’s this cryptic element that gives the work its grand distinction.”
Until September 26
Sullivan and Strumpf Fine Art, Zetland
Pic: Sam Leach Bat Colony 2015 oil and resin on wood 30 x 45 cm Photography: Mark Pokorny. Image courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf.