Sam Leach’s works are informed by art history, science, and philosophy. He combines the poles of the metaphorical and the empirical, the analogous and the objective, in an ongoing investigation of the relationship between humans and animals. With a distanced, scientific approach, the artist draws connections between data visualisation techniques, semiotics, and formalist abstraction that results in a kind of reductive aesthetics. While the delicate interplay between formalist figuration and modernist abstraction in his paintings operates on one level to distance the viewer – to encourage them to look objectively at the subjects – on another level each animal depicted has a symbolic currency that resonates with the audience on a personal level. The paintings extend their focus from animal life to the spectrum of all life itself, encouraging the viewer to contemplate their role as living creatures on this shared earth.
In 2015, Sam Leach was featured in Time Space Existence, a collateral event of the Venice Biennale, and a major monograph with essays by Andrew Frost and esteemed fiction writer Tim Winton. In the same year, he completed an Art OMI Australia Committee Fellowship Residency in New York. In 2010, Leach won both Wynne and Archibald Prizes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and he was a finalist for the Royal Bank of Scotland Emerging Artist Award in 2009. His work has been extensively exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Mercury, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2018); 6600+, curated by Vanessa Gerrans, Warrnambool Art Gallery, VIC (2018); Avian Interplanetary, Linden New Art, Melbourne (2017); Gravity Tractor, Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore (2016); Crossing Borders, Palazzo Bembo, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); The Ecstasy of Infrastructure, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria (2012) and Cosmists, 24HR ART, Northern Territory of Contemporary Art, Darwin (2010). Recent group exhibitions include Dark (Other) Times, Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania, Australia (2018); My Monster: The Human-Animal Hybrid, RMIT Gallery, City Campus, Melbourne (2018); Birds and Bees, Museum of Discovery, Adelaide (2018); Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); SkyLab, La Trobe Regional Gallery, Victoria (2013); Haunts and Follies, Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2012) and First Life Residency in Landscape, Xin Dong Cheng Space for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2011).download pdf