LIONIZE: January 6 - February 12, 2018
Opening Reception: January 6th at 7pm
Lionize is a series of bronze casts of paintings produced using variations of the lost-wax technique. The backs of the waxes are hollowed out by hand, leaving grooves from the artist's hands and fingernails. During the pour, the bronze is adulterated with melted treasure (such as silver teapots, antique wedding rings, and soldiers' lockets from the First World War) and metal workshop scraps. Some ceramic shell material is allowed to remain on the backs of the pieces. They are patinated through exposure to the elements. The name of each piece reflects the circumstances of its acquisition by Leo.
Each work in Lionize is part of an edition of up to three, six, or twelve pieces. If the mold used to produce the wax form of a piece breaks or is lost, no new mold will be made and the edition will be considered complete at the number of bronzes produced. As the back of each piece is unique, the weights of individual pieces vary within each edition.
Leo makes quiet, slow artwork. It reveals itself patiently over time and rewards its audience's careful attention.
He views most of his artworks as products of explorative rather than creative processes, and his practice generally as a form of secular mysticism. Typically, each work is an output of a formal system that he orchestrates around a few key ideas, methods, or materials - often through many permutations and iterations of a consistent form. Repetitive, meditative tasks and the forces of nature play central roles. He omits as much from his work as he can in order to give these key elements space to engage with one another, the audience, and the artist - clearly, although quietly and slowly.
Each piece becomes a vehicle for exploration towards both the subject of the work’s conception and the object of the work itself. Lionize, which is his primary concern currently, has presented different meanings in different moments of this exploration. At present, he sees Lionize as a meditation on durability as an absence of fragility, and he is fascinated by their longevity; they are made of centuries-old antiquities, using a millenia-old process, in a material whose lifespan we have not reached as a civilization, or maybe even as a species. At other times, Lionize has been a mode of exploring personal trauma, idolization and idolatry, the ontological differences between identity and self, and colonial appropriation.
As a facilitator of others' experiences of his practice, a chief concern of Leo's is not to speak over the voice of his own work.
Leo Alexander Krukowski is a Canadian artist who was born in 1991. He was named after Leonardo da Vinci and Alexander the Great. He spent his early life moving between the countryside around Ottawa, the capital city itself, and the Thousand Islands region. He is currently living and working in Toronto.