Leigh’s practice is an object-based exploration of vernacular visual traditions from throughout the black diaspora and their intersection with constructions of black female subjectivity, black feminist discourse, histories of radical resistance, and ethnographic research. Through her principal medium of ceramics, she relates quotidian objects to bodies, and labor to performance, exploring tropes of beauty, utility, agency, desire, and possession.
The exhibition features a new body of sculptural work that departs from and continues the exploration of her earlier series: Anatomy of Architecture. In these works she draws upon disparate, seemingly anachronistic histories of ancient Roman-Egyptian and more recent American vernacular art and architecture, with a focus on the anthropomorphic features of objects and their relationship to specific functions. From a 200 BC bronze “Vase and lid in the form of a Nubian boy”, to face jugs produced by enslaved African American potters in South Carolina, and to Mammy’s Cupboard – a Mississippi café housed in the figure of a woman’s skirt, Leigh’s new ceramic sculptures parse how these objects emblematize and problematize space in regard to the body, fusing and implicating the human form with architecture.
–Daniella Rose King
Leigh was born in 1967 in Chicago, IL. She is a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize (2018); and a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant (2018), Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize (2017), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2016), and Herb Alpert Award for Visual Art (2016). Recent projects and exhibitions include Trigger: Gender as a Tool and as a Weapon (2017) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Psychic Friends Network (2016) at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London; The Waiting Room (2016) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Free People’s Medical Clinic (2014) a project commissioned by Creative Time; inHarlem, a public installation presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, New York; and a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.