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Morphological Variations 2017-2021

Morphological Variations, is a series of oil paintings on canvas that explores the structural nature of digital images. Specifically, this series delves into how these images emerge, and the ways they are rendered, actualized, and transmitted. From the field of biology, the artist has borrowed the term “Morphology,” the method that guides the study of the form, structure, and specific features of living organisms.  The screen—as the only stable platform to support the images’ existence—is the artist’s “ground” to explore, at times as the medium and at others as the image’s habitat, and sometimes even as an entity in itself. As an organic extension of his artistic research on the nature of images, the artist begins his analysis by getting a closer look, fragmenting, and taking samples according to a quasi-“scientific procedure”.  The variations themselves are “the samples taken”: simplified, reduced to colorful screen patterns. Documented by the artist in the form of extreme close-ups taken from various monitors, these images function as the remote subject of that which they will become later in the process. Transformed, cropped, and layered, the repeating, uniform rhythm of the screen patterns is enclosed within compositions of different sizes.  In paintings #2 #5 #10 #11 and #12—compositions based on the primary colors—Leonard goes further in de-constructing the original subject. Using the grid as an imaginary platform, he simplifies the image by mastering color and light to transform the subject into an abstract vision. In paintings #1 #3 #4 #6 #7 and #8, he synthesizes comprehensive compositions by painting the black around the “cells” of the grid in order to highlight their glowing subject. The artist traces various features of the “fabrics” of the screen in paintings #13 #14 and #15. The explosion of color serves as the manifestation of the depth of the morphological analysis taking place. The screens are not even a remote reference anymore: instead, the emotional space between the representative and the abstract is interpreted in these paintings in order to unveil the power and completeness of a single moment in time. Throughout its journey (2017- 2021), this project has taken on an inherent gravity. During the period of isolation, screens—paradoxically—have become a vital source for communication, information, and emotional connection, while at the same time taking part in a sad iconography of loneliness, fear, and distance. The artist is intrigued by the void between the real and the virtual, raising questions about the core of lived experience. The “momentum” of these images’ existence embodies their ambiguity and strangeness to us. They navigate through the undefined nature of “the digital” construed as an illusion that exists far away from the real world.  Alketa Kurrizo.

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