Future Self Storage – Laura Shill

May 8th through June 19th, 2021

To schedule a visit, click here or call 303-832-1599.

Artist Statement –

The disembodied plaster, clay, and fiber figures in Laura Shill’s sculptural installation, Future Self Storage, reach, tumble, and spill throughout Leon Gallery, resisting the vessels that try to contain them while grasping at something perpetually beyond reach.  As an installation artist, Shill employs repetition of form and accumulation over time to create environments that immerse visitors and engage the sensorial experience of touch.  When these objects are not being activated by the public, they rest in storage.  This exhibition presents new iterations of the current (and future) contents of her storage and unpacks the motivation behind the act of keeping. 

Each new version these objects embody, affords them another chance to fulfill their ideal potential.  To keep them is to keep the hope alive that they will emerge from storage to one day become their fully realized selves, their purpose restored. 

Storage is a liminal space often marking a transition, objects held somewhere between remembering and forgetting. We keep the things that we cannot bear to confront and cannot bear to let go of, inexorably bound in aspiration and burden. We store our responsibility to the past and our ambitions for the future, keeping our objects in an unresolved state of waiting. 

Their condition parallels our own in this pandemic year of confinement and isolation.  As we emerge from a prolonged state of storage, what versions of ourselves will we find? 

Artist Bio –

Laura Shill is an artist based in Denver, CO.  Her work combines sculpture, installation, performance, and photography. Shill creates pronounced absences and addresses ideas of disclosure and concealment, agency and emotional risk, desire and discontent, often oscillating between humor and heartbreak. Her works explore the transformative potential of people and objects through early and experimental forms of image making that pair the sinister and beautiful.  Her sculptural and installation work borrows theatrical conventions to blur boundaries between public and private space to immerse participants. These works employ repetition to create environments that bring thousands of hours of invisible labor into material form. 

Shill has exhibited work nationally and internationally at an official satellite of the 57th Venice Biennale at the European Cultural Center, The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Colorado Springs, David B. Smith Gallery, Denver, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, and Durden and Ray, Los Angeles. She earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Media Arts Practices from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2012. Images from her Hidden Mother archive were included in the 2013 Photographers’ Gallery London exhibition, Home Truths, Photography and Motherhood, and were published in the catalog edited by Susan Bright. For her 2016 solo exhibition, Phantom Touch, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Shill developed and relied on a community-based equitable barter system for artistic labor and production to realize an ambitiously soft environment.

A Brooklyn Artist Wants Sports Fans to Wear Their Names

New York Times – Ben Osborne, April 7, 2021.

The irony has always troubled Raafi Rivero. “People love Black athletes,” he said. “But they don’t love Black people.”

In July 2013, it resonated anew for Rivero, a lifelong sports fan, when George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Black teenager Trayvon Martin, the same weekend Rivero saw the film “Fruitvale Station,” about the 2009 killing of Oscar Grant, who was also Black.

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ORPHEUS – Scott McCormick

Scott McCormick -ORPHEUS

March 13th – April 24th, 2021

Book an appointment to view the exhibition here

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Photo credit: Amanda Tipton

Artist Statement –

“Orpheus” is the culmination of a year and a half of work from artist Scott McCormick. Mining the subject matter, compositional geometry, and visual aesthetic of 19th century French academic painters like Bouguereau, Cabanel, and Tissot, McCormick’s epic work defines an emerging and innovative photographic style. Utilizing both digital compositing and film photo techniques, combined with his own large, custom-built sets, expansive props, and headdresses, each image is a complex orchestration of divergent elements and techniques. The intricate composite images — sometimes utilizing over 600 photographs immixed together — achieve a sense of silent frenzy. The process of combining digital and film photography has allowed the artist to prospect a “prophecy-of-self” through his time spent learning.

In early stages of the work, McCormick immersed himself in the folklore of Greek, Slavic, and Mayan cultures. This sparked an exploration of the parallel between the art, as it was revealing itself, and the grandiose mythologies emblazoned on the world’s memories and creations. Throughout his process, the connection to these cultures illuminated itself wholly in the revelation that McCormick’s life as a musician, poet, and artist was reflective of the story of Orpheus. In, perhaps a divine sense of fate, each piece had a minimal predetermined direction at inception, and the connection (or purposeful disconnect) was often only discovered or understood after the photograph was finished.

Shedding the established traditions and procedures of his commercial work practice, McCormick limited the amount of preparatory sketching, and planned only the general idea of each photo, allowing each of the photographs to take on a separate life, unfolding in a through-composed storyline. The works in this exhibition explore ascension, disconnection, divergence, and a powerful sense of feeling for the audience all while thoroughly re-telling the story of Greek legend, Orpheus.

Artist Bio –

Scott McCormick was born in Waukegan, Illinois and started playing the piano at the age of 10. At age 13, he began a 21-year music career by playing gospel churches on the southside of Chicago. Since then, he’s performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, written/scored for ESPN and Disney, and led and performed in the internationally-touring band, Boulder Acoustic Society. He has taught music alongside Grammy, Tony, and Academy Award-winning artists at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington in tandem with Julliard School of Music. However, in 2011, he drifted from performing music and began a new career — starting his company, McCormick Photos & Design.

Over the past 10 years, McCormick has photographed, designed, and directed over 350 album covers. Among the world-renowned artists he’s worked with are: String Cheese Incident, Railroad Earth, Mandolin Orange, Gregory Alan Isakov, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, and Infamous Stringdusters. Infamous Stringdusters’ “Laws Of Gravity” took home a Grammy in 2017, and the following year, Gregory Alan Isakov’s “Evening Machines” was nominated. In 2016, McCormick won IBMA’s “Best Graphic Designer” for Infamous Stringdusters’ album “Ladies and Gentlemen,” and was nominated again for the award the following year. He also developed branding for the Opera, “Qadar”, produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. 

Scott can be found building sets, miniatures, expansive props, backdrops, and elaborate costumes to create a unique photographic vision from real elements. He works with startups and mid-level companies to define brand aesthetic and assists with marketing. His most recent Denver clients include Atomic Cowboy, Clinica Tepeyac, Swallow Hill Music, and Boost Counseling & Consulting. His photos and art have been seen in Rolling Stone, Vogue, The New Yorker, MTV, Vibe, and in Times Square. In 2020, he departed from music photography to pursue a career in fine art photography.

Diego Rodriguez-Warner: Horror Vacui

SW Contemporary magazine – by Joshua Ware Feb 8, 2021

Diego Rodriguez-Warner’s recent exhibition Horror Vacui offers a look beyond the immediate disarray and confusion in which we find ourselves.

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Diego Rodriguez-Warner’s Swirling, Curvilinear Compositions Leave No Surface Undecorated

Hyperallergic – by Ray Rinaldi Dec 28, 2020

Denver, CO — Like many people, Diego Rodriguez-Warner has spent the pandemic quarantining at home, and the paintings and drawings he has created for Horror Vacui at Leon Gallery present material evidence of an artist forced to make due with supplies on-hand. Leftover acrylics, crayons, watercolors and spray paint adorn scraps of plywood and drywall that serve as canvas.

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Daria Magazine – Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

Marsha Mack and Lindsay Smith Gustave – Reviewed by Derrick Velasquez

Marsha Mack and Lindsay Smith Gustave are masters of expansion and collapse. Their exhibition Animal, Vegetable, Mineral at Leon Gallery taps into the notions of abundance, progeny, and growth that temper human desire. With works that shed light on the microscopic, constituent cells of natural and unnatural objects and with imagery that alludes to our contemporary experience of dwelling, the two artists share the space seamlessly and offer viewpoints that are a refreshing reprieve in the midst of heavy times.

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Unarmed – Raafi Rivero

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography


Leon Gallery is proud to welcome back Raafi Rivero for the first gallery exhibition of his powerful social justice project, Unarmed.

Unarmed is an ongoing series of sport jerseys in memoriam of black victims of police violence. Each jersey is created in the colors of a victim’s local sports team. The number displayed on each jersey represents the person’s age when they were killed. Stars, if present, indicate the number of times the person was shot. The Sean Bell jersey, for instance, is a number 23, in New York Knicks colors, with 50 stars.

The exhibition features the full series of designs, thirteen so far, and images from a series of street installations of Unarmed that were displayed across the country throughout the Fall of 2020. Included in the exhibition will be installations, a documentary video, and a memorial to Elijah McClain, in which visitors will be able to participate. Rivero says, “Unarmed feels more like a calling than a brand, more like a mission than an art project, more like a passion project than activism. It is all three.

Artist Bio: Raafi Rivero has directed numerous short films, advertisements, and music videos in addition to work in design. His directing credits include a suite of promos for HBO’s True Blood, content for Microsoft, Sony, The Rockefeller Foundation, and an Art Directors Club award-winning viral campaign for the Maryland Lottery. Their Eyes Were Watching Gummy Bears, a 2010 short film, played more the 30 film festivals to date, winning honors in multiple cities. Raafi’s music videos for Ghostface Killah and Styles P have aggregated over a million views online. 72 Hours: a Brooklyn Love Story?, Raafi’s first feature film, premiered at the LA Film Festival in 2016 and is currently airing on Starz Network.


Raafi holds and MFA in Film from Howard University, and a BA in Art/Semiotics from Brown University. His writing about new media has appeared in The New York Times.

This exhibition was sponsored in part by The Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Horror Vacui – new works by Diego Rodriguez-Warner

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

DIEGO RODRIGUEZ-WARNER – HORROR VACUI

Artist Statement

This show is a bit of a mess.

Like many of you, I have spent the last eight months secluded, and didn’t leave the house for the first three. I did what I know how to do, making images with the materials I had at hand, scraps of plywood and drywall, crayons, pencil and spray paint, a diminishing supply of acrylic paint. I quickly gave up on responding to an omnipresent and ever shifting news cycle, an impossible chase. With a singular exception, I found it nigh impossible to summon past grandiosity, instead focusing on smaller, more intimate pieces. Turning inward as a form of respite, working out of a delirious hope to distract, to keep busy, to give myself purpose in a world falling apart.

I feel like we are passing through a collective chrysalis, an upturned caged domesticity. As I paced a rut in my backyard, so too I found myself returning to the same dead ends in my studio. Erudite gestures of casual indifference, airy contentious groups, ruptured single figures, these crumpled anxious odalisques.

I am hesitant to call them studies, as a study insinuates that anything will come of them. Instead, to borrow a term from my friend Artur Pena, I like attempts. Attempts to occupy myself, attempts to find interest, to excite my eye, to fill the space new people and experiences would have inhabited. I can’t let go of the feeling that this is far less than you deserve, and for that I apologize, but it is my hope that you find me as I am, somewhere in the gesture.

Love,

Diego

Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography


Ray Rinaldi’s review in Hyperallergic:
https://hyperallergic.com/610544/diego-rodriguez-warner-horror-vacui-leon-gallery/


Joshua Ware in SW Contemporary Magazine:

Barth Quenzer writes on Horror Vacui:


Our Executive Director, Eric G. Nord, shares some of his thoughts on Diego’s extraordinary artwork here:

The Dynamism of Diego Rodriguez-Warner


Eric R. Dallimore, Leon’s Artistic Director shares his thoughts here: