Noyes Museum of Art
Leo Sewell's Recycled Animal Kingdom
Statistics show that each year every family generates tons of trash. Despite recycling efforts, landfills continue to reach capacity and close. Calling his art "a reclaimed medium," Leo Sewell presents an alternative to traditional recycling by reviving discarded objects as elements of artwork. From January 23 through April 30, 2000 20 of his sculptures will be on view in Leo Sewell's Recycled Animal Kingdom at The Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, providing more than a feast for viewers' eyes with many life-size pieces. This is the second of four exhibitions in the Inspired By Nature series, funded in part by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. (left: Boxer, mixed media, 31 x 11 x 22 inches)
The Philadelphia-based artist has stated: "As for my aesthetic, it is 'horror vacui' Latin for 'fear of nothing.' In other words, the worse thing the eye can see is plainness, so I fill my works with as much varied matter as I can for the eye to feast on." [sic]
Sewell's sculptures are not in the least bit plain. He twists, screws, and solders found objects together to create colorful, layered sculptures. Each time one looks at a piece, something new is discovered. Each of Sewell's pieces consists of an uncountable number of elements, many of which relate to the subject. "Boxer," for example, is held together by several dog chew toys. Miniature plastic and stuffed bears decorate "Teddy Bear." "Duck" features a picture of Donald Duck.
Sewell started his style as a teen. Growing up in Annapolis, he frequented the Navy yard and collected discarded items. His parents challenged him to be creative, so he began to recreate these items. Sewell's early works were simple, useful objects, including such items as a table and a watch case. His pieces have evolved into highly decorative ones, such as his "low maintenance" pets, zoo animals, two life-size dinosaurs, and human figures.
Sewell has participated in exhibitions throughout the world. His work is housed in collections held by a wide range of institutions and individuals including art and children's museums throughout the United States as well as Japan and Spain; corporations such as NBC and Nike; and a number of Hollywood celebrities. Sewell's pieces also have appeared on Captain Noah and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and are a favorite at Ripley's Believe It or Not Museums in 23 cities worldwide.
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