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.

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.

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:

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral – Lindsay Smith Gustave & Marsha Mack

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

Artist Statement
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral is a two person collaborative exhibition two years in the making. Artists Lindsay Smith Gustave and Marsha Mack hybridize their disparate practices to ruminate on questions of nature versus human nature, each uniquely analyzing the formation and function of our domestic surroundings. Natural elements—animal, vegetable, and mineral—are thematic foundations of this exhibition, utilized to portray the interaction with and memories of our domestic environment when they are no longer ‘of nature.’ Works by Gustave and Mack depict these elements as signifiers of extravagance, perceived value, and false comfort in a changing world. Spanning seasonal and massive global change, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral has taken on new meaning in this year of pandemic and quarantine as exercises in isolation and criticism of creature comforts.

What began as a call and response slowly evolved into a cross pollination of ideas and forms, resulting in works that complement each other from opposite ends of the aesthetic spectrum. Lindsay Smith Gustave’s practice, underscored by patience, stillness, and beauty, which began as methodical drawings, currently utilizes ethereal materials such as neutral toned chiffon fabrics, drawn taut and embroidered. Vintage glass seed beads are hand sewn into these sheer fabrics adding a dimensional element with the play of shadow. Imagery of hands, household goods, and discarded fruit peels speak to intimacy, the body, and domesticity. Drawings, beaded works, and video portray an ongoing relationship to domestic objects, a relationship heightened against the backdrop of pandemic.

Departing from Gustave’s subtler gestures, Marsha Mack’s sculptures and installations revel in material tension. Embracing mass-produced consumer products ranging from aseasonal grocery store florals to fine cut gemstones, overcompensation acts as intervention to socially conditioned shopping environs and the compulsory convenience of the retail landscape. The concept of value is called into question, comparing the simulated against the natural in the markets of domesticated animals, selectively bred flora, and choice earth minerals, highlighting the illusory nature of preciousness. Like the sparkle of a wink caught across the room, playfully disarming works flirt with the promise of collapse that is inextricably tethered to excess. Presented as pastel vignettes seated within expansive backdrops, Mack punctuates Gustave with intentionally maximalist, yet harmonious, opposition.

In an endless cycle of precious bloom and eventual decay, Gustave and Mack take turns adding nuance to an amorphous conversation regarding individual agency in the conscious and subconscious curation of the world around us, especially in a time when we have no choice but to live among our “things.” Whether it’s defining one’s identity with a handmade artisan planter, or masking vulnerability in the glare of lab grown diamonds, a curious conclusion is reached by the commingling of vastly differing artistic visions. These subject-objects are stricken from context, pared down to the essential, to draw attention to the voids between ourselves and those objects. Consumerist traditions of still life and portraiture are injected with a dose of alienation while examining connections with these objects, or
lack thereof. Through periods of feast and famine, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral trains its focus on the physicality of objecthood in the contemporary experience in its most beautiful and decadent moments.

Lindsay Smith Gustave Bio
Lindsay Smith Gustave lives and works in Denver, CO. Gustave received a BFA with Honors in printmaking in 2007, and a Master’s in Art History in 2014, both from the University of Denver. A multidisciplinary artist, she seeks to express the remnants of mundane existence through domestic and
natural artifact, thus establishing a link between a landscape’s reality and that imagined by its observer. Reproductions of specific moments or vague memories infuse them with meaning by challenging the division between memory and immediate experience. Gustave has worked at the Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, and David B. Smith Gallery, and was a board member of Denver Art Museum’s CultureHaus. She has exhibited work at Alto Gallery, Georgia Art Space, and Union Hall. Gustave has
been featured as a Colorado Creative in Denver’s Westword.

Marsha Mack Bio
Marsha Mack (San Rafael, CA) holds an MFA in Ceramics and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Women’s and Gender Studies from Syracuse University, and a BFA in Ceramics from San Francisco State University. Mack’s texturally rich, process-intensive sculptures and installations honor playfulness and introspection as equals. Her ongoing interest in cultural consumption and the formation of identity serves as wellspring for visual and associative cues, giving rise to questions of personal vs universal symbol, mixed race identity, and the emotional potential of confection.

Mack has presented projects and exhibitions with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (Denver, CO), Black Cube Nomadic Museum (Englewood, CO), Lane Meyer Projects (Denver, CO), PØST (Los Angeles, CA), The Yard (Colorado Springs, CO), and the Galleries of Contemporary Art (Colorado Springs, CO). Marsha is currently the Associate Director of David B. Smith Gallery (Denver, CO), a ceramic instructor at Foothills Park and Recreation District (Littleton, CO), and is an artist in residence at RedLine Contemporary Art Center (Denver, CO).

Photo credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

(r) Lady Slipper, 2019 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Glass beads, thread, chiffon
36 x 24 in.
$750
(l) Leopard Vase, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Glazed ceramic with rhinestones and acrylic beads
8.5 x 5.5 x 3.25 in.
$250
(r) In Memoriam, 2019 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Glass beads, thread, chiffon, wire
20 x 16 in.
SOLD
(l) Cherry-picked and cut, 2019 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Glass beads, thread, chiffon
20 x 16 in.
SOLD
(above) Flower Moment, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Mixed media collage with stoned mirror, hand blown glass beads, and butterfly clips
12 x 12 x 2 in.
$359
(below) Pink Halo Vase, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Glazed ceramic with rhinestones and hand blown glass globes
5 x 5.5 x 3 in.
$250
Centerpiece, 2020 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Glass beads, thread, organza
38 x 72 in.
$1500
(r) Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Firestarter, 2018 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Ink and graphite on paper
20 x 24 in.
SOLD
(l) Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Conversations in Vacancy, 2019 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Ink and graphite on paper
35 x 25 in.
$1000
(above) Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Meronymy, 2018 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Ink and graphite on paper
24 x 20 in.
$750
(below) Cultivation I & II, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Glazed ceramic, rainbow hydroton, glass crystals, Cubic Zirconia
dimensions variable
$150 each
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Peel, 2019 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Ink on paper, plaster, glass beads
13 x 10 x 3.75 in. (framed)
SOLD
(above) Entertaining Petit Fours, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Mixed media collage with glass rhinestones, glass beads
12 x 13 x 2 in.
$350
(below) Blue Lattice Vase, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Glazed ceramic with glass rhinestones
6 x 4.5 x 4 in.
$250
Citrus Season, 2020 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Glass beads, thread, chiffon
36 x 24 in.
SOLD
(above) Meat Joy, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Mixed media collage with fine blue apatite, rock candy, freshwater pearls, and craft beads
12 x 12 x 2 in.
$350
(below) Purple Sunset Vase, 2020 – Marsha Mack
Glazed ceramic with rhinestones and hand blown glass globes
5 x 5.5 x 3 in.
$250
Linger, 2020 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Glass beads, thread, chiffon, projector with video
20 x 16 in.
$450
We Waited Too Long, 2020 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Glass beads, thread, chiffon
16 x 20 in.
SOLD
(l) Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: How To Attract Flies, 2020 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Ink and graphite on paper
14.25 x 13 in.
SOLD
(r) Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Vestiges of Summer, 2020 – Lindsay Smith Gustave
Ink and graphite on paper
14.25 x 13 in.
SOLD
Grand Champion: NW Velvetkist Don’t Touch My Tutu, 2018-20 – Marsha Mack
Ceramic, faux rose gold leaf, rhinestones
8.5 x 11 x 11 in.
$750 (sculpture only)
$950 (full installation)
Grand Champion: Kohaku, 2018-20 – Marsha Mack
Ceramic, faux gold leaf, rhinestones
10.5 x 13 x 7 in.
$750 (sculpture only)
$950 (full installation)
Grand Champion: Flynn (GCHP CH Belle Creek’s All I Care About Is Love, 2018-20 – Marsha Mack
11.5 x 12.5 x 6.5 in.
$750 (sculpture only)
$950 (full installation)

Human Currency

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

Jasmine Abena Colgan

Website: www.photographsbyjazz.com

Opening Reception: July 18th, 2020

On Exhibition: July 18th – August 29th, 2020

Artist Talk: August 15th, 2020

Limited 10 Visitors for 45 minute appointments on opening night.

PLEASE NOTE – We require a face mask for entry into the gallery.

Gallery Hours: Wed-Sunday 10am-6pm

Artist Statement:

Human Currency is a collection of works that confronts institutional racism in the representation of the cowrie seashell. Each piece addresses a contemporary issue that signifies deep rooted historical practices of slavery, racism, fertility, womanhood, birth, and wealth. The cowrie shell is the symbol of life; Jasmine Abena Colgan uses the shell to share her belief that through womanhood, we will develop the change in the world that is needed today. A simplistic form portrays a beautiful depiction as a metaphor, which is vocalized through the African perspective in artistic material.

“The exploration of my culture has influenced my identity to be expressed from life conflicts, as a multi-cultured woman with American nationality, appearance of Black American, but heritage of Irish and Ghanaian. There has always been the constant battle of deciphering where I fit in as a mixed individual. This body of work is shared not only from the lens, but the intellect of a African-American, Fante-Ghanaian, Irish-American, and Black & White woman.

My artwork has developed through the use of natural and found materials; they reference pigmentation, slavery, labor, tribal and bi-nationality. I mold metaphorical structures that represent the similarities between history and culture brought into contemporary conversation. I have developed my understanding of what ​it​ means to be a woman of colors. By painting a mask of makeup, I am embracing my skin condition and expressing the persona of a ​halfrican​.”

– Jasmine Abena Colgan

10% of proceeds from your purchase will be donated to a non-governmental organization in Ghana through Tough Skin. A virtual card will be sent, and your name will be added and shared with the international community.

BIO:

Jasmine Abena Colgan is an Ameri-Ghanaian artist, educator, scholar, entrepreneur and social activist who was born in Colorado. Colgan will complete her masters in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder in Spring of 2020. Jazz is a master printer with 19th century, historical photographic printing processes including; platinum & palladium, silver and gold.

In 2019, Colgan was a NEST fellow and collaborated with a Ph.D. Candidate in chemistry to successfully develop the Ghanatype; a gold printing method using raw material from Obuasi (Obuasi mine initiated the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade). Her artwork is inspired from the contemporary diaspora of mixed culture in the social world; a woman who is black and white, Irish and Ghanaian, African-American, but declares herself a part of the vitilgan race and a woman of colors.

In 2017, Jazz was awarded the “Face of Vitiligo” at a world conference, highlighting her successful social empowerment while conducting field research for her non-profit organization, Tough Skin. She has been featured in publications such as PEOPLE magazine, was associated with TEDXMileHigh for Wonder: Women in Art Experience. Colgan has developed international relationships with several diverse communities and recently established Tough Skin into an enterprise that sources Shea Butter from Ghana to handcraft protective, organic skincare products.

IG: @the.spotted.zelephant

Website: www.photographsbyjazz.com

Available Works

Cowrie asa asa cotton twill and ink jet 44” x 40” A cowrie shell was photographed and printed in platinum and palladium photographic solution onto cotton paper. Each image is portrayed in a saturated monochromatic tile which narrates artistic rituals and cultural traditions. The prints were scanned and then printed onto a cotton fabric. The documented shell is collaged into an ‘asa asa’ and this tradition migrated over the Atlantic Ocean into what is called a quilt. $300 each
Cowrie asa asa cotton twill and ink jet 44” x 40” A cowrie shell was photographed and printed in platinum and palladium photographic solution onto cotton paper. Each image is portrayed in a saturated monochromatic tile which narrates artistic rituals and cultural traditions. The prints were scanned and then printed onto a cotton fabric. The documented shell is collaged into an ‘asa asa’ and this tradition migrated over the Atlantic Ocean into what is called a quilt. $300 each
Gold Cowrie Shells GhanaType photographic solution; raw gold and 100% cotton paper 5×7 Each sheet of cotton represents the skin of a human being. The blank sheet is marked with graphite which registers where color is allotted, and then a light sensitive solution is applied onto the surface and exposed to sunlight. After the sun exposure, the print is washed in a series of salt baths which removes any residual contents. The gold is displayed in a variety of colors ranging from yellow, blue and red. The gold was used to print the cowrie shell as a representation of materiality living longer than the human body. $600 each
Ghanatype Printing with Pure Gold, copy of original book with pages from the original. The GhanaType photographic solution is an experimental liquid that developed from a collaborative project with chemist, Marissa Martinez. The book is a study of an article written by Mike Ware who recreated the Chrysotype from William Herschel. $30 open edition / $150 limited edition- 13 copies (available for pre-order)
One Human’s Worth 6,370 cowrie shells and a burlap sack During the Atlantic Slave Trade, humans were trafficked and traded as one of the most valuable commodities to this day. When colonizers discovered that transactions were cheaper than exchanging muskets and metals for enslaved people, they began shipping cowrie seashells from Europe to Africa. According to National Geographic, “Each person bought for $100… was now worth $1000, and once acclimated could be sold for $2,000, or $60,000 in today’s dollars”. (Feb. ‘20, pg. 58) Although, currency was exchanged in a shell format, and this monetary system determined how much any African person was worth for exchange. The cost of a person fluctuates depending on the size and physical presentation of each individual. Even though the shells do not originate from Africa, they have been associated with African culture because of the historical weight. $60,000
Nana Kofi Bonnzie Nana is a title that is given to a male with high respect. He was born on a Friday and his family founded the village, Winneba in Ghana. His ancestors grounded the land and moved the colonizer away from their Earth, they prayed to the Gods that the oppressor would not take their homes. The water from the ocean raised high and washed the British out of Ghana. Men, it is time to take a step down. As we have watched the level of hierarchy fluctuate throughout the centuries, there needs to be a revolution. Let us take the reigns for a while and do something with the world. $12,500
Naa N’ku Müna’s Naa is a title that is given to a female with high respect. Her skin was said to have been soft because of the creamy N’ku (shea butter) she would apply to her skin. She was a woman of desire, belief and wish – her history has influenced our culture today. Her ancestors fought a great battle to end the slave trade. The seat of her throne holds the cowrie shell, it is said that she had four children of her own and was a mother to all children in the village. Locals still visit the site she was buried. Women, it is time to take a stand. We were leaders in our past to the point where we even made the colonizers fear us, this is why they took our power. We create life, we nurture, and have voiced our spiritual beliefs. We are the future, we will change the world. $12,500
Vanity make up cloths with brown make up, assorted seashells, light up vanity with light bulb, sprinkled with broken cowrie shell dust. Makeup cloths are destroying the ocean as our skin absorbs the chemicals that are mixed together to remove more chemicals from the face. The broken shell fragments are pieces that have broken throughout the creation of Human Currency. The light leads the viewer to look harder at what our bodies become after we are all granted a death that is promised. $1,250
Blood Shed Noose, cowrie shells, black paint, calabash, cotton fabric and cotton. This weapon was functional at one point. Until the addition of each shell from each death due to police brutality and supremacy actions, the noose was not able to function from the high number of shells. The rope is floating above a cotton sheet and a libation will be poured to honor the deaths of the souls lost in the world. A libation will be poured to symbolize the blood that was shed and honor the lost souls from violent acts of racism. $2500
Fabric of Our Lives 100% authentic cotton (handpicked from Walmart), burlap. A cotton apron expressing the labor in American workplaces and the strenuous hustle to fabricate a fashionable aesthetic. The cotton is painful, but the skirt looks good. $1,300
Hard ‘ER’ acrylic and make-up The ‘N’ word derives from the Spanish word négrè which translates into ‘black’. This derogatory, six letter word dates back to the 15th century and has made a cultural shift within the centuries, varigating from the French, Portuguese and eventually the transition into the English translation, Nigger. However, the word is deeper than the color of our skin. The ‘N’ word was the descriptive name that defined a low level of hierarchy for enslaved people, who were comparable to livestock; owned as property with human characteristics, bred to fulfill a lifetime of servitude. Colonizers would travel from Europe to the motherland and steal people from their homes before they were brutalized in a ‘civilized’ manner as the ships arrived to the New World. $500

Black in Denver

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Artist Bio:

Denver-based photographer, Narkita Gold has been honing her skills in digital photography since 2009. She’s passionate about arts and culture and finds inspiration in the human experience, city life, and architecture. She’s currently profiling the city’s movers, shakers, and every day folks about the Black experience in the Mile High City in her portrait and interview series, Black in Denver. Learn more at www.blackindenver.com.

Artist Statement about Collaboration with Leon:

The Black experience in Denver is unique, complex, and often overlooked. I’ve always believed representation matters, and seeing ourselves on the walls of museums and galleries is impactful, especially to our little ones. I am excited to bring my series to Leon Gallery to continue to celebrate diversity in blackness, shed light on our connectedness, and raise awareness about the power of being oneself.⁣

Originally, these portraits graced our front window, during the pandemic shutdown of the gallery, with plans to create a semi-permanent display on our flags, to bring the many truths of Denver’s Black community through Narkita’s project. We encourage you to learn more and hear the stories of our community members showcased here by visiting @blackindenver on Instagram. You can also follow Narkita @narkitagold⁠⠀

“Blackness is a Spectrum. We are all connected. We are here”. – Narkita Gold

Please Stand By

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A small gift of beauty & art for the world in our windows along 17th and Park Avenue.

Ongoing through mid July

Jared David Paul Anderson: April 22nd – May 4th

*Live Performances with Darkness & Stars

Venmo: @JDPboomboom

IG: @jareddavidpaul

Camille Rose Shortridge: May 6th -May18th

Venmo: @Camille-Shortridge-1

IG: @camill_ionaire

Michael Dowling: May 20th – May 28th

Venmo: @ifoundleon (Michael is generously donating all proceeds back to Leon)

IG: @michaeldowlingstudio

*Artwork will be available for purchase on a donation basis through each artists’s Venmo. 100% of donations go towards the artists.⁠

Although we cannot invite people to gather at Leon, or even go out of your way to come by, starting April 22, if you are in the neighborhood, perhaps on the way to or from picking up essentials or taking your daily walk, we will have something beautiful to offer if you glance our way. ⁠

Jared David Paul Anderson

If You Lay in a Bath as it Drains You Will Feel the Weight of the World

It is easy feeling the weight of the world these days. Nothing is black or white, it is all gray. That is the hardest part for me, the unknowing of it all. I do know these microscopic beings are much bigger than all of us and so I have surrendered. In quarantine I have found solace in full throttle art making. No answers here, just pause from a global pandemic painted in black and white, no gray.

Half of this exhibition is donation based art. I do not expect many people to be buying art at a time when jobs are lost and landlords still want to be paid rent. A simple act of appreciation to anybody practicing humanity.

JDP will be collaborating with Stephen Daniel Karpik (@sdk.forsale) for a live performance as Darkness & Stars during random moments of his installation, which you can tune in and view live on IG.⁠ In the spirit of surprise beauty, we may drop a hint when this is happening via Instagram, or you may just have to happen upon on your walk around the block.

Camille Rose Shortridge

It’s a Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

I see many similarities between Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood and my own. I live in Uptown, just two blocks away from Leon. From my windows overlooking the cross streets of 16th and Park Ave., everyday I see my neighbors outside enjoying walks or riding bikes with family and friends. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. And yet, there is juxtaposition in that there is an underlying current trauma at the core that needs to be addressed. We’re not sure how to address it, we’re all trying to understand it.

For my installation as part of “Please Stand By”, I will be setting up my entire art studio inside the front window at Leon, where you can find me working daily. I want to give my neighbors a behind the scenes look inside the artists’ studio. A personal space that few ever get to enter into, and a space where as an artist I create work that is influenced by the realities of everyday. In sharing my space and practice with my neighborhood, I hope to offer a new experience that can perhaps bring us together in healing as we all learn how to adapt to these changing yet opportunistic times.

Michael Dowling

Isolation Collaboration

A series of eight collaborations set in our time of isolation. Each one will be a unique experiment in communicating and creating together with the physical barreir of a window between the artist and the viewer. Inputs will be exchanged from the viewers/collaborators, which will serve as the jumping off point for Michael’s new work and as moments of diversions for the current direction he may be painting in.

PLEASE NOTE – WE DO NOT encourage people to go out of their way, travel outside of their own neighborhoods, or violate the Stay-At-Home orders put in place by Governor Polis or Mayor Hancock. However, if you live in the neighborhood and are out getting exercise or en route to the grocery store, feel free to walk by and have a look. You can stand on the sidewalk outside the gallery and watch. But please remember to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.⁠

Was, Is, Will Be – Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series

Was, Is, Will Be is Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series, broadcasting remotely throughout the month of May, 2020, and during the stay-at-home/safer-at-home orders of Governor Polis and Mayor Hancock.

Artists were provided an honorarium to create a work of pre-recorded video or prepare a performance for live streaming.

As the various works are premiered on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, they will be added to this gallery.

Featured Artists and Broadcast Dates:

Phil Cordelli and Sueyeun Jeliette Lee – TEDDYSNORKEL – May 7th

Brenton Weyi – A Verse for Humanity – Creative Words of Connection and Introspection – May 8th

Joshua Ware – DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! – May 14th

Michael John McKee – Exercising – May 15th

Sarah Touslee and Tyson Bennet – Wait Here – May 21st

Tobias Fike and Matthew Harris – Confined – May 28th

Fike & Harris – 78,267 ft Apart

Tobias Fike and Matthew Harris bring us the fifth performance in Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series, reuniting again, after their wildly successful “Pop” performance from our first series in 2018.

Their video, “78,267 ft Apart” will be broadcast via Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.

To make donations or send tips to the artists you can use Venmo: @Tobias-Fike

Statement: Fike and Harris connect through Zoom, and it isn’t always pretty.

Bio:

Collaborating since 2010, Tobias Fike and Matthew Harris have dragged each other across the desert, wrestled each other’s shadows, and tried to catch glass objects while blindfolded. Their work addresses the everyday difficulties of human relationships, often using humor and irony to highlight the real struggles involved in negotiating difficult situations. They have exhibited widely, including at the Fonlad Digital Arts Festival (Coimbra, Portugal), the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (Boulder, CO), and the David B. Smith Gallery (Denver,CO). In 2013, they performed live for the opening of Denver’s Biennial of the Americas First Draft exhibition where they tested the collision of beach balls at high speeds.

Their performance video, “Food Fight” is in the Kadist Art Foundations, Video Americas collection and was recently shown in Shanghai, China as part of that collection.

TEDDYSNORKEL – Phil Cordelli and Sueyeun Juliette Lee

Artist Statement – We will manifest and consume messages from other forms of life here on earth to prepare our bodies as channels to the future.

Artist Bios – Phil Cordelli is a poet and farmer just outside the city of Denver.

Sueyeun Juliette Lee grew up three miles from the CIA. Find her at silentbroadcast.com

To make donations to the artists you can send $ via Venmo: @sjuliettelee

A Verse for Humanity: Creative Words of Connection and Introspection – Brenton Weyi

In this video, Brenton shares some poetry, stories, a song from his musical, and ends with improvised verse informed by the audience. Central to all his performances is a sense of building community and human bridges, which is especially vital during this most disjointed time.

To make donations to the artist you can send $ via Venmo: @Brenton-Weyi

DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!!

Joshua Ware is an artist and writer living in Denver, Colorado.

To make donations to the artists you can send $ via Paypal:

buildingthefactory@hotmail.com

DETH LIGHGHT IX: The Illumination of Nothingness

1. During the autumn of 1965, Aram Saroyan composed lighght. An audience, he said, should “see rather than read” the poem—for it is “sculptural” as much as textual.

2. When we say light, we pass through gh silently.

2. When we say lighght, we, too, pass through ghgh silently; but we are aware of silence because silence becomes seen.

3. Silence is the sound of nothing; but ghgh is variation producing pause. DETH LIGHGHT, too, is a kind of pause.

4. If “habit is the great deadener,” then DETH LIGHGHT is the great leveler.

5. Americans do American things: families, houses, careers, and cars; vacations and 401Ks.

6. When we die, our names will be forgotten. No 401K will save us.

7. The dead do not worry about American things.

8. We become nothing in our unnamedness, regardless of our station.

9. Sappho is nothing now but fragments; her contemporaries lost forever.

10. If we are to be forgotten, then dance inside the DETH LIGHGHT. But gracefully so.

11. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a dance of insignificance before we disappear.

12. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! sways with the apocalypse.

13. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! says “I am this body who dances horribly in heavy boots.”

14. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! explores public spaces rendered empty by disease.

15. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! explores intimacy in a time of social distancing and PPE.

16. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! partakes in our own decay.

17. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a dilettante’s film—and unashamedly so.

18. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a love song for everyone.

19. DETH LIGHGHT IX: DNCE DNCE!!! is a prayer to no one.

20. DETH LIGHGHT is the illumination of nothingness.

Exercising – by Michael John McKee

Here is the fourth broadcast in Leon’s 3rd Annual Performance Art Series, Was, Is, Will Be.

In “Exercising,” Michael explores the intersection of endurance, minimalism, and indeterminacy through the human body, percussion, and technology, paralleling a daily life during stay-at-home orders.

Bio – Michael John McKee is a musician and sound artist. Under the moniker Helicopter Copter, Michael produces sound-forward mixed media, including projects like experimental music video collaborations, sound design and incidental music for theatre, tongue-in-cheek compositions, wind chime sound installations, and alt music performances.

To make donations or send tips to the artist use Venmo – @micjohmck

Kevin Frances – Man in the Moon

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Kevin Frances

Man In The Moon

February 15th – March 28th, 2020

Join us as we celebrate the Colorado debut of Kevin Frances (NYC) for Mo’ Print: Month of Printmaking.

Photo credit: Amanda Tipton Photography

website: http://www.kevinfrances.com/

Statement:

Objects are spread across a table: books, bills, an almost empty cup of coffee, a note to self–“the sun moves across the sky.”

Initials are scrawled on an interior wall, in round blue letters, high up near the ceiling–RTHRS.

Ordinary objects and events, things we have held in our hands a thousand times, paths we walk every day, have incredible potential–the potential to knock our perception off kilter, to make us see things anew, the potential to tell us a story, an epic in the scratches on a coffee table.

My work is about the made world, probing the world of objects, their cultural significance, what they can tell us about a person, that transformational moment when they transcend bland reality and become new and strange, and that shimmering edge in between those two states of mind.

In Monolith, I mined my life for spaces that triggered a cascade of memories; corners where I ate breakfast every day, awkward doorways and corridors, worn parquet floors. I made small scale sculptures out of these spaces, sometimes realistically, sometimes in incongruous materials, like a corner of a room made out of speckled clay. I combined these objects with projections of shadows I had gathered; light coming in through blinds, hanging plants, a silhouette self-portrait. I borrowed and stole objects and images, like a bird looking for shiny things with which to build a nest. I took pictures of these arrangements.

My work has often involved layers of translation, usually from medium to medium, sculpture to photo to woodblock print. My thought process for this project took a similar path; starting with spaces that had strong personal resonances, I set those aside and let formal concerns lead the way, which lead back into meaning, but in a more open, stranger way.

Bio:

Kevin Frances is an artist who lives and works in New York City. He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, and his BA from the University of California, Davis in 2010. In 2012 he was a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His work has been shown at the International Print Center New York, the Knockdown Center in New York, Cheymore Gallery in New York, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, the Kala Gallery in Berkeley, and Galleri CC in Malmö, Sweden. He received a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant in 2016, and the St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist Award in 2017.

PRESS:

5280

Westword

Available Works

You know, I didn’t like it, so I broke it Woodblock Print 20” x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
Monolith Woodblock Print 20” x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
In the Headlights Woodblock Print 20” x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
Monolith 11 (top), Monolith 2 (bottom) Chromogenic Color Print 6” x 9” Edition of 6 $ 200 unframed $ 250 framed
Monolith 5 (Top), Monolith 1 (Bottom) Chromogenic Color Print 6” x 9” Edition of 6 $ 200 unframed $ 250 framed
Monolith 10 (Top), Monolith 9 (Bottom) Chromogenic Color Print 6” x 9” Edition of 6 $ 200 unframed $ 250 framed
Let the Shadows have their Space Woodblock Print 20“ x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed
My Room / Her Room Woodblock Print 20“ x 30” Edition of 10 $ 1100 unframed $ 1350 framed