Marc Straus, New York
Anna Leonhardt (b. 1981 Pforzheim, Germany) activates her paintings with numerous layers of thick oil paint, activating the surface with each drag of her palette knife. Every inch of the luscious surface is carefully attended to, resulting in a two-fold enthrallment, that of color and materiality. Most distinct are vertical and horizontal forms Leonhardt calls “Raumzeug” (“Space Stuff”) — the very life-force of her paintings. Always in exuberant impasto, these multi-layered marks may seem to float freely but they are in constant interaction, epitomizing Leonhardt’s innate grasp for rhythm and balance. Colors are the star performers on her operatic stage, they bleed and blend right up to the edges of the canvas. Luminous and mystic, her paintings are lucid metaphors of the physical world.
Leonhardt graduated with MFA from Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, a prestigious art school. Since then, Leonhardt has shown extensively in Europe, US, Asia. With increasing interest, her work is in numerous private and public collections including Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kunstsammlung des Sächsischen Landtages, art collection of the Saxon Parliament and Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden.
Michael Brown’s (b. 1984 New York) vernacular has its roots in American Pop. Common objects—lawn chairs, mirrors, brooms—go through a painstaking hand-crafted realization in different and unexpected materials. Thus, they are handmade–ready-mades in the lineage of Robert Gober and Fischli/Weiss that surprise and delight the viewer. For example, Brown’s stainless steel mirrors are born from destruction of a mundane mirror. The mirror is smashed and Brown recreates the cracks, rebuilding the mirror as highly-polished stainless steel drawing. These intentional dysfunctional mirrors are beautiful objects; they assert that we see imperfection in a different light.
At age 20, Brown was included in a seminal museum exhibit of 12 US graduate students at Hudson Vallery MOCA, Peekskill. Within a year Marc Straus introduced him to Yvon Lambert Gallery who then exhibited his work broadly for the next 4 years and sold work to some of the great collections in the world. When the gallery closed Brown suffered another gallery closure and at age twenty-nine he receded from the gallery world to work and raise his family. Now, though still young and off the circuit for several years he is a more considered and mature artist offering his quirky works that tempt reevaluation.