Celebrating Ninety Trips Around the Sun
Paintings by Jim Leedy
September 4 - October 31, 2020
I attempt to ignore everything I have learned when I am creating. I try to become one with nature, to flow freely as a tree grows on a stream flows, directed only by the forces of resistance that nature has established.
Of course, learned information can never be completely erased from my activity since I am the result of everything that I have learned until this moment. But, by not consciously using collective information, I attempt to work intuitively. Nature itself is a collection of events tracing back to the beginning of time. Therefore, everything is the total sum of all that has preceded. By working uninhibitedly, I hope to create work that is not contrived, while revealing process using all elements of creation from the mark of my hands and tools to the evidence of flame striking the work during firing.
Truth is my goal and truth is beauty.
Jim Leedy is an international artist in terms of his interests and achievements. He is an artist who crosses boundaries between materials and genres, representation and abstraction, art and music, creativity, and scholarship. His diverse and unique talents have led him to a lifetime of accomplishment in clay, painting, public art, works-on-paper, prints, assemblages, installations, and performance.
Eyewitness to the birth of the New York School, Leedy's paintings emerge from Abstract Impressionism, with a sense of materiality, surface, structure, and veiled figuration. With a graduate study of Asian art history at Columbia University, he created a hybrid of Abstract Expessionismand Oriental pottery which is central to his oeuvre in clay. Chinese tripod bronzes and Japanese folk pottery were reinterpreted with an informal American twist that established him s an early leader in the American Clay Revolution.
Never satisfied with the status quo, his career has been a lifetime of exploration and chance-taking that has occasionally put him on the outside of major art movements, while often anticipating them. He continues to break ground in processes, materials, and subject matter that is unique to his times and personal like.
"I try to forget everything I have learned, and attempt to flow with nature."
Adapted from Jim Leedy: Artist Across Boundaries, by Matthew Kangas, University of Washington Press, 2000.
Jim Leedy is an artist who crosses boundaries between materials and genres, representation and abstraction, art and music, creativity, and scholarship. He began making art as a very young child. While still in high school, Leedy began working with the Bluefield (WV) Telegraph newspaper as an artist and photographer. After two years as a military photographer, he entered the Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William and Mary in Richmond, VA as an art major on the G.I. Bill.
Leedy is an international artist in both interest and achievement. His diverse and unique talents have led him to a lifetime of accomplishment clay, painting, public art, works-on-paper, prints, assemblages, installations, and performance. Jim shows his work, lectures, and does workshops at home and abroad and his works are held in numerous museums and private collections around the world. Noted art critic Matthew Kangas recently wrote a book on Leedy's career entitled Jim Leedy: Artist Across Boundaries.
A longtime professor of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute, Leedy is a devoted teacher. He has degrees from The College of William and Mary, Michigan State University and Southern Illinois University, with post-graduate work at Columbia and Ohio State Universities. Among his many honors, Jim has received grants from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Carnegei-Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. He has also received the Kansas City Art Institute's Distinguished Achievement Award and the Governor's award for teaching excellence, as well as being named Honorary Member of the Council of the National Council of Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).
Jim Leedy has worked tirelessly for decades as a passionate champion of the arts in Kansas City. The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, founded in 1985 and still directed by Jim, is currently home to 6 galleries. In 2000, the Kansas City Star recognized Jim as one of the 150 most influential living Kansas Citians for his role as the founder of Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District and the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. In 2001, the Governor the Historic Kansas City Foundation both recognized his efforts with awards for historical preservation and for his role in founding the Crossroads Arts District.
Never satisfied with the status quo, Jim's career has been a lifetime of exploration and chance talking that has occasionally put him on the outside of major art movements, while often anticipating them. He continues to break ground in processes, materials subject matter, and community development in a way that is unique to his times and personal life.