Sam Leach

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SAM LEACH: FULLY AUTOMATIC DREAMS

13/08/2020

“Do androids dream of electric sheep?” wondered Phillip K. Dick in his eponymous novel of 1968.[1] Artist Sam Leach has a likely answer - “Well, yes, probably - if you instruct them to.”

Leach’s exhibition Fully Automatic evokes many dreams. Digital dreams, utopic techno dreams, musings, wonderings, the dream of landscape painting and, perhaps, even the odd nightmare. These paintings are strange imaginings from an emergent digital age, an age truly unprecedented in human history, so entirely unique to our time, that these works would be impossible in any other era. Yet, despite being spun from the gossamer stuff of dreams, just like the digital itself, these otherworldly images are based in hard materiality and process. 

To the nuts and bolts then. The artist worked with physicist Dr Matthew McAuley from Belfast to build an Artificial Intelligence capable of inventing images. Using algorithms from an Open Source code - DCGAN (Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network) - the artist feeds the AI with a series of images. These are drawn from the history of art and architecture and often pair unlikely bedfellows, among them - Fragonard, Super Studio, Boucher, Archi-Zoom, Bosch and selections from the artist’s own past work. 

The algorithm both generates and discriminates. One part ‘looks’ at the constitutive pixels and their surrounds, seeking spatial resemblances and differences to create an image. The other part compares the output with the original dataset to determine whether the image is successful - either ‘fake’ or ‘real’. This is particularly startling and begins to resemble something unsettlingly like consciousness. The generative AI reconsiders its efforts, attempting to predict the next logical painting from prior efforts, hoping to trick the discriminator into classifying it as ‘real’. Hence the ‘Adversarial’ in the DCGAN - both elements of the algorithm question and consider their success adapting their code to ‘improve’ their outputs. 

This process takes many hundreds of thousands of repeated passes. Early iterations resemble a cloud of dots and even highly-resolved images are smeared, blurred and uncertain. A kind of mechanized, computer generated collage then, but this also sounds disturbingly like an artist - re-examining their work, shifting to seek new and better results. The machine remains entrapped within the premises presented to it, the raw material chosen by Leach. No android can dream of electric sheep without instruction, at least, not yet. 

The resulting images are an electro-pixel fog of strange, uncertain visions. These are not precise and mechanistic, but miasma swirls of colour and indistinct form. They are, in fact, evocations of form, not pictures at all. The artist then looks at these electric dreams and imagines back into them. Dreaming back into a dream, he sets about making a painting from them. The artist provides the solidity and certainty they lack, refining, discerning, inventing and amplifying the absences and uncertainties between the smears to produce a final image. Given all this work, the exhibition title is more than a little ironic. 

This process recalls a previous attempt at full artistic automation, the automatic drawing of Surrealism. Some Surrealist artists attempted to unselfconsciously produce marks, creating images supposedly unfettered by the rational mind to reveal unconscious manifestations. Here, the machine becomes the Surrealist, charged with the first stage of unconscious automatic speculation. The second stage of wilful imagination and image creation is, however, much closer to an older method – one described by Leonardo Da Vinci when he advised artists to create images by looking at “a wall spotted with stains, or a mixture of stones, .. to devise some scene” or to “discover a resemblance to various landscapes. …strange faces and costumes, …like the sound of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine.” [2]

Leach is a highly-skilled painter and an adept artist acutely aware of the history of art, science, and the interconnection between these still allied fields. His past works are highly rendered, imaginative visions that surprisingly conjoin a variety of images collaged into a seamless whole that evoke the conditions of our age - so why invent such a convolute and complex process? Several reasons I suspect. 

Science and art are linked by experiment. To have a hunch, then set up and test the idea in the physical realm, with the hopes of unexpected discovery is the very stuff of experimentation; common to both science and art. In this sense, these works are experiments in the emerging realm of AI. For me, they also recall the ludic writings of the OuLiPo group, who predetermined set structures to create unimaginable possibilities. Their leader, the polymath Raymond Queneau reportedly remarked  the OuLiPo were “rats who devise the labyrinth from which they propose to escape”. (Examples include George Perec’s A Void a 290 page novel without the letter ‘e’ or Queneau’s own Exercises in Style a simple 3 paragraph story told in 100 stylistic variations.)[3] Similarly, the restraints imposed here, actually free the artist to invent in paint. The algorithm presents the artist with new and exciting problems for which a solution must be found - how to materially realise these visual conundrums in paint? 

These works regard the fundamental changes the digital age has bequeathed upon us. Within art history, this is not unusual - artists often directly address and engage with the possibilities presented by new technologies. As machines began their rise in the 19th Century, Modern artists - from Monet’s railway stations to Duchamp’s bicycle wheel - speculated on these new technologies. The machine age has passed, superseded by the computer age, but in the same manner, progressive artists address this latest iteration of the new. 

What exactly AIs will be capable of, is still an emerging story. Will they ultimately become Fully Automatic? It has been 23 years since the IBM computer Big Blue defeated then reigning world chess champion and grand master Boris Kasparov. Since then champion humans have been soundly thumped at even more complex games. Watson wins Jeopardy (2011), AlphaGo wins Go (2016). AIs are currently better at diagnosing skin cancers than human doctors,[4] and make much faster (and infinitely more sober) article clerks when finding legal precedent.[5] It goes on. Now the machines march forth to usurp the intellectual professions and cognitive labour of the 21st century in the same way they overtook physical labour in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some revel in these utopic technological dreams, imagining AIs will ultimately supplant human capability. But, as these painting reveal, this is not a simple binary. While no human can now beat the world’s best chess computers, these same computers cannot beat a human when paired with another chess computer. In the same way that humans partnered with machines could produce the previously unimaginable automobile, humans, when paired with AIs, will produce the next intellectual possibilities. 

Apart from being stunningly strange, beautiful, evocations of where we are now, these paintings explore the dream states of digital possibility, the dreams of the machines and, in themselves, become a type of dream machine for those that view them. 

Stephen Haley

ENTER FULLY AUTOMATIC VIEWING SPACE

 


[1] Dick, Phillip. K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Doubleday, USA, 1968. Ridley Scott later adapted this novel as the film Bladerunner in1982 .

[2] Leonard Di Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo di Vinci, Entry 508 “Developing and Arousing the Mind to Various Inventions”, Trans Jean Paul Richter, London 1888, reissued Project Guttenberg, 2004

[3] Perec, George. A Void, (La Disparition) Gaillimard, Paris, 1969

Queneau, Raymond. Exercises in Style, (Exercices de style), Gaillimard, Paris, 1947.

[4] https://www.esmo.org/newsroom/press-office/artificial-intelligence-skin-cancer-diagnosis from Annals of Oncology, May 2018 last accessed 19 July 2020

[5] If you are in the law, you might be concerned to read: Re, Richard.M. & Solow-Niderman, Alicia: “Developing Artificially Intelligent Justice, Stanford Technical Law Review, 22. 2019. https://law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Re-Solow-Niederman_20190808.pdf

 

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ep13

Podcast: Episode 13 Sam Leach

13/08/2020

Throughout history, artists have always quoted and appropriated, synthesising the past and (hopefully) creating something new all their own. It is the modus operandi of award winning painter Sam Leach and is exemplified in his controversial Wynne Prize winning work based on a 17th century Dutch painting of an Italianate landscape.

No stranger to controversy, Sam Leach is now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate new imagery based on his own catalogue of work, which he then painstakingly paints. It’s a kind of feedback loop, blending the mystical qualities of paint with digital technology.

The process raises serious questions about the future of art, culture and humanity — or what Sam calls the cultural singularity. Is it a new kind of collaboration between man and machine, giving us a new aesthetic beyond ourselves or has the artist been subjugated to become the machine’s apprentice.

Join Sam and art critic, lecturer and broadcaster Andrew Frost in this timely, thought-provoking conversation.


Portrait Sam Leach

Sam Leach: In the Studio

16/07/2020

A couple of years ago my daughter started high school and we thought she might need a room of her own. I gave up my home studio (the biggest room in the house) and we all shuffled rooms so that my two daughters each had their own space. I had long daydreamed about building a new studio and this was the time. I managed to work through all the council requirements and submitted my plans – a beautiful shed, as high as possible and with
a balance between keeping outdoor space and useful working area.

Of course, they were rejected, and I needed to re-work my design. I spent a couple of years sulking about my plan rejection and dithering on the redesign, renting a studio space in an old warehouse. By November I realised that I could not face a second summer in that place, so I bit the bullet and paid someone to finish my studio plans.

We broke ground on the studio in February. The engineering plans called for 2m deep pylons, and if Grand Designs has taught me anything it is that groundworks are always complicated and cost more than expected. Ours went smoothly though – no rocks, no collapses, no underground rivers. The concrete was poured, and all looked good until I came out to find our yard was a lake of sewage.

I called the plumber and it seemed that the drilling had cracked the old ceramic pipe. The emergency plumbers trenched down around 3m across the yard to replace all the pipes. The digging had raised the soil level of the whole yard by about 300mm. I called the shed builder to see if we could lift the base of the shed to clear the new ground level. I worried whether raising the height of the shed would breach planning, but the builder thought it was “probably fine”.

In the week that Covid-19 lockdown started the materials arrived. I was unsure if we would be able to progress, but the builder was absolutely unconcerned, declaring that Covid-19 was “all bullshit”. Luckily, the shed went up very fast – in about two days. Unluckily it was built backwards – the shed has a large roller door, and that was at the wrong end. The builder was sure that he checked that with me, but he definitely didn’t because I do know which way the shed is supposed to face. He might have asked me in a way that I didn’t understand.

We managed to resolve it (they moved the door to right end) and with the shell erected, I needed to get the building inspector to sign off before I started the fit-out. This was a tense time for me since I got it into my head that increasing the height of the shed meant it was not built according to the approved plans. The inspector missed two appointments, and then stopped returning my calls. To manage my anxiety, I started work on paving the sides of the shed a little. Getting the pavers up to the edge of the shed was a little tricky due to the different soil heights and one of my bricks slipped under the edge of the shed wall. I reached down to retrieve it but lost my grip, so my arm jerked back up...and into the bottom of the shed. Which is to say that the shed went into my arm. I called Emma to tell her “I’ve done it again” and then basically fainted. Luckily due to Covid19 stopping people from playing sport or going out drinking, the hospital emergency department was completely empty. A few stitches and some slight nerve damage, but this was my non-painting arm, so no problem!

The inspector finally came and spent less than a minute glancing at the shed before saying “Yep, all good”. I expected the fit out to take a few days. A couple of weeks maybe. With homeschooling underway I developed new routine: get up at 4am to paint, homeschool with

my daughters from 9am until 2pm. Then from 2pm until sunset work on fitting out the shed. It turned out to take longer than I thought to do the fit out. I wanted to make sure I got the details right, after the warehouse I wanted to get the insulation right, so I spent some extra time on that. Nice high walls are great for a studio, but it is hard to get up there to patch and fill, and it was pretty scary being up that high installing the ceiling and lights too.

I have broken my brain with the 4am starts and now I am in that habit even though I don’t have to do home- schooling. Luckily in the shed I can fire up the hi-fi even before dawn and thanks to my excellent work insulating it is barely audible outside. Having a purpose built space is an absolute luxury, I am loving it!

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06/09/2019
SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY
Booth E20
12 – 15 September

Opening Night: Thursday, 12 September 2019

 
We’re upping the ante for Sydney Contemporary 2019 with our biggest group of artists, our largest space yet, and a very special booth designed with Flack Studio especially for the 5th annual event at Carriageworks on 12 – 15 September.  

Visit us at Booth E20 to see a diverse range of works by 17 Australian and international artists from our Sydney and Singapore galleries, including:

Tony Albert | Glenn Barkley | Karen Black | Kirsten Coelho | Ry David Bradley | Maria Fernanda Cardoso | Gregory Hodge | Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran | Sam Leach | Richard Lewer | Michael Lindeman | Sanné Mestrom | Alex Seton | Jeremy Sharma | Tim Silver | Darren Sylvester | Yang Yongliang

Large-scale works by Gregory Hodge, Michael Lindeman and Alex Seton will also be featured in Installation Contemporary throughout the fair; Tony Albert will deliver his first performance piece in Sydney with Confessions as part of Performance Contemporary on opening night; and many of our artists will be speaking as part of Talks Contemporary.

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ATTEND

15/08/2019

Sullivan+Strumpf presents Brisbane Brief
a pop-up exhibition in Brisbane

14–25 August 
Festival House, 381 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley


Sullivan+Strumpf invites you to Brisbane Brief – a new pop-up exhibition at Festival House, Fortitude Valley. 

Showing over 10 days, Brisbane Brief presents a selection of new and recent works by celebrated Brisbane artists Tony Albert, Karen Blackand Lindy Lee, as well as some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, including Gregory Hodge, Alex Seton, Joanna Lamb, eX de Medici, Hiromi Tango, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Glenn Barkley, Sam Leach and Dane Lovett. As well as international artists Gonkar Gyatso and Eko Nugroho.

Opening Hours
10am–5pm / Tuesday – Saturday
12pm–4pm / Sunday

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OPENING SOON

05/07/2019

SAM LEACH
Space
Gippsland Art Gallery, Victoria, Melbourne
20 July - 8 September 2019

This major exhibition explores the romance of space through visual culture produced during and after the moon landing. Two of Sam Leach's works are being shown alongside more than 15 other artists.

Together, with astronaut photographs and space hardware, this engaging and timely exhibition will make you feel part of the global celebration of man's exploration in space. Each piece will help build a comprehensive understanding of our cultural fixation with space through art.

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08/03/2019

ART BASEL HONG KONG 2019
29 - 31 March 2019
Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Centre, Hong Kong, China

Galleries Section Booth 3C23
Encounters Section Booth EN12

Sullivan+Strumpf is delighted to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2019 with a presentation of works by artists with diverse practices in both two and three dimensions, including Tony Albert (Booth EN12 Encounters Section)Sydney Ball, Lindy Lee, Sam Leach, I Nyoman Masriadi, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Alex Seton and Yang Yongliang.

The presentation includes some of the region's most exciting artists including a large-format painting by Indonesian-based I Nyoman Masriadi (b.1973, Gianyar, Bali). Masriadi’s practice combines superhuman figures with Indonesian cultural history, offering a biting social commentary on contemporary life and global pop culture. Created especially for ABHK 2019, Sri Lankan-born, Sydney-based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (b.1988, Colombo, Sri-Lanka) will show, Bi-Head, a polychrome and polished-bronze head, exploring the politics of sex, the monument, and pointing to the new possibilities to be found in gender fluid realms. Alex Seton (b.1977, Sydney, Australia) will present a pair of large-scale bronze and marble totems from his ‘Cargo’ series, a new body of work in which the artist depicts highly compressed bales of clothing, of the kind found in the second-hand clothes industry. Seton’s bronze and marble obelisks evoke the mesh of needs, concerns, environments and economies through which we are all connected. This sense of connectivity is also present inthe work of Lindy Lee (b.1954, Brisbane,Australia) in which she invokes a sense of deep time. Lee will present, Unnameable 2017, a large-scale bronzeFire Stone’and works on paper pierced and singed by flame. As each scorched mark stands for an individual moment, so too, the large bronze Fire Stone – borne of the marriage of metal and spontaneous eruptions – speaks to the infinite curve of time inherent to all life.Time, in an evolutionary sense, is also examined in Sam Leach’s finely executed oil paintings of animals and spacesuits. Leach (b. 1973 Adelaide, Australia) draws a connection between the legacy of the enlightenment found in the philosophy of Russian Cosmists and the distinctive styles of spacesuits, helmets and associated technology. Leach connects the constructed landscapes of the 17th and 18th century, the utopian ideals of 20th century formalist abstraction and the future implied by space exploration. Yang Yongliang (b.1980, Shanghai, China) will present video and photographic works exploiting a connection between traditional Chinese painting and the contemporary, implementing ancient oriental aesthetics and literati beliefs with modern language and digital techniques. Yongliang’s monochrome landscapes provide a counterpoint to a special presentation of works from the estate of the late Sydney Ball (1933-2017). Arguably Australia’s greatest colourist, Ball’s Infinexseries in automotive enamel on aluminium, comprises rigid geometric forms articulated in fields of contrasting colour – crisply chromatic formal assemblages of individual but related planes of colour which appear as if poised mid-motion.

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INVITATION

01/02/2019

ANNUAL SUMMER GROUP SHOW
Sullivan+Strumpf | Sydney
8 - 16 February 2019

Opening Friday, 8 February 2019, 6 - 8pm

To celebrate the first exhibition of our exciting 2019 program, join for the S+S Sydney Annual Summer Group Show next Friday, 8th February from 6pm.

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JOIN US IN TAIPEI

15/01/2019

TAIPEI DANGDAI
Booth A06
Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre
No. 1, Jingmao 2nd Road, Nangang District, Taipei City, Taiwan
18 - 20 January 2019

VIP Preview & Vernissage: Thursday, 17 January 2019
Public Fair Dates: Friday - Sunday, 18 - 20 January 2019

Sullivan+Strumpf is delighted to participate in the inaugural Taipei Dangdai this January, with works by Sydney Ball, Sam Leach, Sam Jinks, Dawn Ng and Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.

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UP NEXT

21/12/2018

TAIPEI DANGDAI
Booth A06
Taipei Nangang Exhibition Centre
Taipei City, Taiwan
18 - 20 January 2019

Featuring works by Sydney Ball, Sam Jinks, Sam Leach, Dawn Ng and Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.

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CHECK OUT

18/12/2018

SAM LEACH
Analogue Art in a Digital World
Curated by Sam Leach & Tony Lloyd
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne

Until 19 January 2019

Curated by Sam Leach and Tony Lloyd, Analogue Art in a Digital World reveals how artists are finding new content in digital media and how technology has altered the nature of analogue art practices.

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ATTEND

18/12/2018

SAM LEACH and SAM JINKS
A Fine Romance
Gippsland Art Gallery

Until 17 February 2019

A Fine Romance explores the relationship between beauty and deceit through hyper-real paintings and sculptures by a range of contemporary artists including Sam Leach and Sam Jinks.

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COMING UP IN 2019

08/12/2018

GROUP SHOW
Sullivan+Strumpf | Sydney
Opening early February 2019

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JOIN US

08/09/2018

SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY
Carriageworks
13 - 16 September 2018
Booth E18 + IC09 for Glenn Barkley

Sullivan+Strumpf is delighted to participate in Sydney Contemporary 2018 (Booth E18) with a presentation of new and recent works by Tony Albert, Sydney Ball, Glenn Barkley, Karen Black, Barbara Cleveland, Sam Leach, Lindy Lee, eX de Medici, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Dawn Ng, Baden Pailthorpe, Alex Seton, Grant Stevens and Angela Tiatia.

A highlight of the presentation is Sydney Ball's Chromix Lumina 14, a large-scale work from the artist's Infinex series, his final and never-before-seen body of work. Realised in automotive enamel on aluminium, a method of manufacturing the artist devised out of physical necessity at the age of 81, Chromix Lumina 14 represents the pinnacle of Ball's lifeling research into the relationship between form, colour and light.

In addition, no fewer than six S+S artists have been invited to participate in the curated sections of the fair. Angela Tiatia is included in Video Contemporary, curated by Kelly Gellatly; Karen Black has collaborated with Handpicked Wines to create an immersive-art-experience-cum-bar; Glenn Barkley will create a cabinet of curiosities filled with new vessel forms and collages; while Lindy Lee, Alex Seton and Tim Silver will present solo presentations for Installation Contemporary, curated by Nina Miall.

Panel Discussion:
The Waves: Gender, Representation, and the Market Saturday, 15 September 2018, 10am at S+S Sydney, 799 Elizabeth Street, Zetland. Featuring Barbara Cleveland (artist collective), Christine Dean (artist), Angela Tiatia (artist), Julie Ewington (curator, writer & broadcaster) and Ursula Sullivan (co-director of S+S, Sydney & Singapore) on the panel, moderated by Kate Britton (curator).

Artist Talks:
Saturday, 15 September 2018, 12.30pm at the fair, starting at Booth IC09 and following a series of other talks at Booth E18.

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JOIN US

01/09/2018

SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY
Carriageworks
13 - 16 September 2018
Booth E18

Sullivan+Strumpf are delighted to participate in Sydney Contemporary 2018 with a presentation including Tony Albert, Sydney Ball, Glenn Barkley, Sam Leach, Lindy Lee, eX de Medici, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Dawn Ng, and Alex Seton. In addition, Barbara Cleveland, Baden Pailthorpe, Grant Stevens and Angela Tiatia are included in Video Contemporary, while Glenn Barkley, Lindy Lee, Alex Seton and Time Silver will present solo presentations for Installation Contemporary. We look forward to welcoming you to booth E18.

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JOIN US

17/08/2018

SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY
Carriageworks
13 - 16 September 2018

Sullivan+Strumpf will present new work by Tony Albert, Sydney Ball, Glenn Barkley, Karen Black, Sam Leach, eX de Medici, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Dawn Ng and Alex Seton, at Booth E18.

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DON'T MISS

01/07/2018

SAM LEACH
My Monster
RMIT Gallery
29 June - 18 August 2018

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VISIT

06/06/2018

SAM LEACH
Dark (Other) Times
Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania
Curated by Maria Kunda and Paul Zika
8 - 24 June 2018

Sam Leach is included in Dark (Other) Times, a group exhibition as part of Dark Mofo. The exhibition is organised around the polarised moods that characterise living in our "interesting times": on one hand expansive and ecstatic, psychedelic and transcendental; on the other hand, seemingly stalled - time endured, languidly, with a sense of torpor, ennui or petrification.

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DON'T MISS

06/06/2018

SAM LEACH & SAM JINKS
MY MONSTER: THE HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRID

RMIT Gallery, City Campus
29 June - 18 August 2018

Sam Jinks and Sam Leach are included in My Monster, a group exhibition at RMIT Gallery celebrating the 200th anniversary year of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein and the enduring fascination with the human animal hybrid.

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ATTEND

18/05/2018

SAM LEACH
Birds and Bees
Museum of Discovery, Adelaide
May - October 2018

Birds and Bees, at the recently opened MOD, is a collaborative project between Sam Leach and Professor Mandyam (Srini) Srinivasam (University of Queensland. The project brings art and science together to shine a light on the differences between human and animal perception, spatial navigation and illusion.

> MORE INFORMATION
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ATTEND

09/03/2018

SAM LEACH
Mercury

10 - 31 March 2018
Opening Saturday, 10 March 2018, 3 - 5pm
Sullivan+Strumpf | Sydney

Sam Leach will present an artist talk in conversation with Dr Andrew Frost alongside his exhibition.

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UP NEXT

02/03/2018

SAM LEACH
Mercury
10 - 31 March 2018
Opening & Artist Talk on Saturday, 10 March 2018, 3 -5pm
Sullivan+Strumpf | Sydney

Sullivan+Strumpf is pleased to present Mercury, a major new body of paintings by Sam Leach. 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.

"The Russian Cosmists believed in immortality and resurrection for all humanity. The ideas of Russian Cosmism, most famously formulated by Nikolai Fedorov in the late 19th Century included plans for technological development, including space travel, to achieve this goal of immortality. In the early 20th Century Fedorov's student, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, developed the mathematical equations and preliminary designs that were developed and applied to achieve the first human trips to space.

As the editorial of E-flux issue 88 pointed out, the humanist concern of Cosmism marks it as one of the threads of the englightenment. A thread which was cut short by stalin's purges. Since we now see a new era of space exploration in which private interests are funding and building the technology, it is timely to consider the origins of the project of space exploration. The aesthetics of the technology are determined largely, but not entirely, by function. It is this aspect of aesthetic choice in the design that interests me. I speculate that there is a connection between the legacy of the enlightenment found in the philosophy of the Russian Cosmists and the distinctive styles of spacesuits, helmets and associated technology. I want to draw a line connecting the constructed landscapes of the 17th and 18th Century, the utopian ideals of 20th Century formalist abstraction and the future implied by space exploration."

- Sam Leach on Mercury, 2018

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> VIEW ARTIST PAGE


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DON'T MISS

24/02/2018

SAM LEACH / 6600+
Curated by Vanessa Gerrans
Warrnambool Art Gallery, VIC
Until 11 June 2018

6600+ is an abstract representation by Sam Leach of Budj Bim as not only Australia’s earliest and largest aquaculture system but also as a cultural and sacred space that symbolises and celebrates the ingenuity and the ongoing Gunditjmara connection to land. The Gunditjmara have been tireless in their advocacy and ongoing commitment for recognition of the international significance of this remarkable site and we encourage everyone to learn from the rich traditions and history of Budj Bim as a significant story in the narrative of South Western Victoria.

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COMING UP

23/02/2018

SAM LEACH
Mercury
10 - 31 March 2018
Opening Saturday, 10 March 2018, 3 - 5pm
Sullivan+Strumpf | Sydney

> REQUEST PREVIEW
> VIEW ARTIST PAGE


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FINAL DAY

23/02/2018

2018 GROUP SHOW

Until Saturday, 24 February 2018

> ENQUIRE


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ATTEND

10/02/2018

SAM LEACH / 6600+
Warrnambool Art Gallery
Opening on Friday, 23 February 2018, 6 - 8pm

An exhibition exploring the Budj Bim landscape in southwestern Victoria. Sacred to the Gunditjmara people, the Budj Bim National Heritage Landscape includes a system of channels and weirs constructed from the local volcanic rock to manage water flows from nearby Lake Condah to exploit eels as a food source. The exhibition will feature a painting newly commissioned for the Warrnambool Art Gallery Collection, supported by the Robert Salzer Foundation and the Isobel and David Jones Family Foundation.

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ATTEND

09/02/2018

2018 GROUP SHOW
10 - 24 February 2018
Opening tomorrow, 3 - 5pm
Sullivan+Strumpf | Sydney

Join us for the annual S+S Group Show in Sydney, offering a glimpse of our forthcoming 2018 exhibition programme and advance previews of exciting new works by S+S artists.

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CONGRATULATIONS

29/09/2017

TONY ALBERT + SAM LEACH
Coffs Harbour National Still Life Award
Coffs Harbour Gallery, NSW
Finalists
24 Nov 2017 - 20 Jan 2018

> VIEW ARTISTS' PAGES
> MORE INFORMATION


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COMING UP

17/08/2017

SULLIVAN+STRUMPF MELBOURNE POP-UP
44 Glasshouse Road, Collingwood
24 - 26 August | Opening Hours 12-5pm
Opens 24 August, 6pm

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ATTEND

07/06/2017

SAM LEACH
In Conversation Dinner
The Botanical, South Yarra
15 June, 7-10pm

Join Sam Leach for a two course dinner at The Botanical, South Yarra and hear first hand about his latest work, ideas and themes explored in the exhibition Avian Interplanetary (Linden New Art, Melbourne)

> MORE INFORMATION AND TICKETS
> VIEW ARTIST PAGE
> ENQUIRE


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ON VIEW NOW

01/06/2017

SAM LEACH
Avian Interplanetary
Linden New Art, Melbourne
Until 6 August

Sam Leach's solo exhibition Avian Interplanetary is a proposal for a future habitat that takes into account the world view of non-humans as well as humans. The works explore possible connections between recent research about the evolved human preferences for certain landscape schemes and experiments into how creatures use visual signals and strategies to negotiate their environment.

The work consists of a large rendering of a cratered landscape taken from detailed images of asteroid surfaces, setting the basis for a future habitation. This environment will be combined with paintings of landscapes based on robotic visual systems, and sculptures referencing the visual and aesthetic approaches and preferences of birds, insects and rocks. This project draws out the links between landscape, animals and technology. Using paintings, sculpture and installation, the implications of the research on understanding how non-humans view the world yields both practical and aesthetic benefits.

> MORE INFORMATION
> VIEW ARTIST PAGE
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ON VIEW NOW

09/02/2017

2017
Group Exhibition
S+S Sydney
Until 18 Feb 2017

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> ENQUIRE


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COMING UP

24/01/2017

2017
Group Exhibition
4 - 21 Feb
Opens 4 Feb | 3-5 pm
Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney

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Richard Lewer The Custom of the Sea AUT University St Paul Street Gallery 2015 2

CONGRATULATIONS

19/02/2016

2016 FLEURIEU ART PRIZE FINALISTS 
TONY ALBERT, SAM LEACH, RICHARD LEWER, ALEX SETON, TIM SILVER, AIDA TOMESCU
ANNE & GORDON SAMSTAG MUSEUM OF ART
University of South Australia, Adelaide
Friday 3 June - Friday 29 July 

In 2016 the Fleurieu Art Prize – the richest landscape art prize in the world – will relocate from its home on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia to the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide, where it will be presented to city audiences for the first time.

Landscape as a subject for art continues to capture the imagination not only of the wider community, but also increasingly of leading artists wanting to express a connection with place, and who recognise that landscape holds a compelling power for our contemporary culture.


Sam Leach Bat Exposing his Genitals 2015 001

COMING UP

26/08/2015

SAM LEACH
The Desire of Things to Move Against Gravity
29 August - 26 September

OPENING SATURDAY 26 AUGUST
3-5pm, Sullivan+Strumpf

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Sam Leach Artand Australia copy

SHOP

15/08/2015

PRE-ORDER: 

SAM LEACH: EDITED BY ARTAND AUSTRALIA

Sam Leach is a conundrum. The man wears his intellectual preoccupations on his sleeve, declaring himself, right at the outset, as an artist of ideas. – Tim Winton

Sam Leach, one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists will release his first monograph, Sam Leach, this month at Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney. With over 20 solo shows to his name, Leach has exhibited extensively at galleries and museums throughout Europe and across the Asia Pacific region. He is known for his virtuosic oil paintings. Executed with exemplary brushwork and encased in resin, Leach demarcates an ongoing investigation of the intersection between humans and animals. 

Produced by Art and Australia, the comprehensive survey is interspersed with an essay by celebrated, award-winning Australian author Tim Winton and an interview with writer and art critic Andrew Frost. The book abundantly illustrates over fifty of the artist’s major works to date, including the 2010 Archibald winning portrait of Tim Minchin and Proposal for a landscaped cosmos which took out the Wynne Prize the same year. 

PRE-ORDER NOW FOR DELIVERY END OF AUGUST 2015

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Sam Leach Trophic Cascade 2015 oil and resin on wood 9 panels each 50 x 50 cm overall size approximately 150 x 150cm

SAM LEACH: PALAZZO BEMBO VENICE

02/05/2015

Personal Structures: Crossing Borders
A collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale
9 May - 22 November 2015

> VIEW EXHIBITION