Leah Gerrard’s art is influenced by her immediate surroundings: the industrial area of Seattle as well as the forest of Washington. In her exhibition Element we see the supple navigation between these two aesthetic influences.
Using woven wire over a light armature with minimal additions of rock, wood, and metal she creates a strange environment populated by objects with curious identities. The materials lend themselves to the idea of the natural world and the weaving and repetition suggests organic growth. Sinuous tubes of woven wire coil into fluid shapes. Wire appears to grow over and around disparate objects. Snugging around a tree limb, a wire sleeve gapes. Twisted tubes capture rocks and glass. Stones dangle from cooper netting. These inventions hang from the ceiling, project from the walls and standalone–a peculiar garden of sorts.
On one hand these objects feel like hybrid specimens of a natural environment but just as easily seem like tools or totems from another culture. This strange duality may reside in their interesting contradictions; flexibility/rigidity, delicacy/strength, movement/stasis, roundness/edges. These contradictions together with the specificity of connections between materials adds an unnatural and constructed look to the object charging them with a notion of utility or ritual. Pulleys, scales, levers, and plum lines come to mind.
Natural elements have their own powerful identity but, in these pieces, Gerrard cleverly subsumes their singular nature and produces curious and beautiful objects with their own unique power.