Written by Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, Conn. - The Julian Akus Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University is presenting "Cur.rent Car.ri.er," through March 10. Artist Courtney M. Leonard will be on campus Feb. 10 for a gallery talk at 3 p.m. followed by a reception from 5-7 p.m. in the gallery.
In "Cur.rent Car.ri.er", Leonard, a member of the Shinnecock Nation and recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, explores the evolution of language, image, and culture through mixed media pieces of video, audio, and tangible objects. "As an Indigenous woman I navigate three worlds - the first world is that of indigeneity; the second world is one of Western Imperial construction; and the third world is where these two meet in dynamic reaction and adaptation," said Leonard. She reinterprets traditional Shinnecock clay vessels, which act as the carriers of historical narrative through the currents of present cultures and on to the next generations.
"This exhibition may be enjoyed on a purely aesthetic level, but if you look beyond the lyrical beauty of Leonard's paintings, sculptures, and video installations, you will find a seamless drawing together of widely diverse inspirations and her measured, yet acerbic social commentary," said Gallery Director and Curator Elizabeth Peterson. "Imagery of plant, animal and human life, with warm and cool colors of the land, sea and sky, bring all of her work in clay, metal, canvas and video into perfect harmony."
The Shinnecock Reservation is located at the east end of Long Island, NY. The proximity of the reservation with the Hamptons and New York City puts the varied worlds described by the artist into sharp relief. "The only way to truly know a people is through the people themselves, objects hold only pieces of time - we carry the rest," said Leonard.
Akus Gallery is located in the lower level of Shafer Hall at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday and 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The public is invited. Admission is free. For more information regarding this and other exhibitions at Akus Gallery, please call (860) 465-4659 or visit www.easternct.edu/akusgallery.