until 05.11. | #3569ARTatBerlin | Galerie kajetan Berlin presents from 10. September 2022 the exhiition “Shaping the Energy of Contained Spaces” by the artist Harry Leigh.
Galerie kajetan presents the solo exhibition Shaping the Energy of Contained Spaces by the American sculptor and minimalist Harry Leigh (*1931) for the first time in Europe. On display are nine wall- and room-sized sculptures made between 1974 and 2020, which bear witness to Harry Leigh’s sensitive merging of two divergent natural materials in elegant, sometimes straight, sometimes curved lines.
Harry Leigh’s large-format wooden sculptures and assemblages of wood and brick, which seem to play around the room, present themselves as form-reduced wall and room drawings. While viewed from the front, the fine wooden limbs of the works give the room a contour and thus enclose it, this impression dissolves when the sculptures are viewed from the side, where they reveal their permeability.
The works are the results of his aesthetically demanding experiments in interacting artistically with space and its lines of movement, which have been ongoing since the mid-1960s. Leigh’s extensive knowledge of various disciplines, sometimes far removed from art, always flowed into this. In his student years, for example, the later sculptor worked as a carpenter, joiner and bricklayer’s assistant, as well as in a glass distillery or on the assembly line of a car manufacturer. The artist drew from this broad repertoire of crafts and brought his constructions, which were always fragile in their balance, to perfection both in their aesthetics and their statics.
His starting materials are the raw materials traditionally used in house building, especially in rural areas, and used as load-bearing supports. By placing them in mutual support of each other, Leigh emphasises the material´s functionality in his assemblages, but sharpens our eye both for the history of use of the material and for the material’s own aesthetics. In this way, the artist places his works of “rural minimalism” alongside the still hierarchised areas of “high” and “low art” as well as art and craft.
Whether laminated and bent, glued or wedged – Leigh’s presented wooden works open up surprising moments of their processing and impressively convey the artistic creative process over more than three decades. This is how the painter and art critic Stephen Maine aptly characterised Harry Leigh’s work – it is the How that defines the What here*.
Text: Eliza Grabarek M.A.
*Stephen Maine: The How Is the What: The Essential Harry Leigh.
Harry Leigh graduated from Albright Art School and SUNY College at Buffalo, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1953. That same year he was drafted into the US Army, trained as a radio operator and was stationed in West Germany. While serving in Europe, he travelled extensively, visiting museums and architectural sites. Upon his return, Leigh used the G.I. Bill to study with sculptor and ceramic artist Peter Voulkos, earning a master’s degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in 1959. From 1956 to 1960 he studied painting privately with Richard Pousette-Dart. During this time he began experimenting with large, constructed works in cardboard, plaster and plywood; sculpture became his primary medium in 1965.
In his first solo exhibition at the Brata Gallery in New York City in 1967, Leigh for the first time linked his artistic work with his travel and educational experiences. In 1974 and 1978, solo exhibitions of his work were held at OK Harris Gallery. He has received artist fellowships at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Studio Program. He lives and works in Suffern, NY.
Vernissage: Friday, 9. September 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Exhibition dates: Saturday, 10. September until Saturday, 05. November 2022To the Gallery
Image caption title: Harry Leigh, Shaping the Energy of Contained Spaces, Exhibition view Galerie kajetan Berlin 2022, Photo: Marcus Schneider
Exhibition Harry Leigh – Galerie kajetan Berlin | Zeitgenössische Kunst – Contemporary Art – Exhibitions Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin