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Leonard Ursachi
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Dumbo



ARTIST STATEMENT: I am a Romanian-born American artist. I grew up under a dictatorship, from which I defected, and spent years border-hopping before settling in New York. My art reflects our contemporary world of porous borders, vulnerable shelters, and mutating identities. My sculptures and installations often use architectural references as tropes for systems that enclose and exclude, protect and reject. I’m interested in boundaries and in the impact of structures—material, theoretical, social, or political—on individuals and communities. Much of my work is site-specific—the physical, historical and cultural aspects of the site informs my concept and use of material. Several of my sculptures are in the form of bunkers. Human-scale, woven of willow branches or covered in feathers, they are as much about longing for home and shelter as they are about conflict. Some of my sculptures take the form of wells. The well is a shared resource and social gathering place. Its iconography is mythic—the source from which life and knowledge spring; a receptacle for our desires (throw in a coin and make a wish). Some of my installations incorporate video, photographs, or drawings. I use a broad range of materials, such as hand-made clay and straw bricks, willow, mirrors, feathers, steel, wood, stone, and marble, depending on the concept and context for each work.
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  • What a Wonderful World
    2018
    Styrofoam, Styrocrete, pigment, 23k gold leaf, tar paint, steel base
    108" high x 48" diamter
    What a Wonderful World is a large, ovoid globe speaks to the inevitable nexus between politics, money and the environment. The 23-karat gold leaf applied to the tarred oceans may evoke profit-driven d

  • What a Wonderful World
    2017
    tree branches, pigmented cement, stainless steel mirrors, wood, stainless steel armature
    8' high x 5.5' diameter
    This first iteration of What a Wonderful World was exhibited by NYC Parks in Tribeca Park in 2017/2018. The form and woven branches may evoke an egg, nests, birth, history, and nature, while the map m

  • What a Wonderful World
    2017
    Aluminum, stainless steel mirror, marble
    13.5" high x 8.25" diameter
    Part of a series of egg-shaped globes, some of which with recessed "bunker" embrasures, that address issues such as borders, wars, and human impact on the environment.

  • What a Wonderful World
    2018
    pigmented acrylic resin, 23-karat gold, painted steel base
    18" high x 8.5" diameter
    Part of my "What a Wonderful World" series, seen here at the solo exhibit, "Leonard Ursachi: EROSION" at the Derfner Museum in the Bronx, NY. The show got a Critic's Pick from

  • Drift
    2016
    pigmented concrete
    9' high x 12' long x 8' wide
    Drift was a site-specific, temporary installation I created for the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge, through the sponsorship of DUMBO BID and the NYC Department of Transportation. Drift addressed l

  • Drift
    2016
    pigmented cement
    9' high x 12' long x 8' wide
    Drift was a site-specific, temporary installation I created for the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge, through the sponsorship of DUMBO BID and the NYC Department of Transportation. Drift addressed l

  • Fat Boy
    2013
    Styrofoam, Styrocrete, pigment, mirrored stainless steel
    118" high x 98" diameter
    Fat Boy was commissioned by the John & Mable Ringing Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, where it was exhibited for over a year. It then was shown in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, in tandem with a show

  • Behind Fat Boy
    2016
    Varied
    Varied
    This is a partial installation view of "Behind Fat Boy," my solo exhibition at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The show was organized in tandem with the exhibition of my s

  • Fat Boy: terracotta
    2012
    terracotta, mirrored stainless steel
    2' high x 20" diameter
    Part of my Fat Boy bunker series. I based Fat Boy, my first bunker sculpture in the form of a head, on a classical Western putto. Since antiquity, putti have been malleable signifiers, representing

  • Well
    2011
    driftwood, plastic bottles, resin, stainless steel mirrors, rope
    25' high, various other dimensions
    To create Well, I wandered my precipitously gentrifying neighborhood, salvaging old cobblestones from streets under repair, dragging driftwood from the East River, and collecting discarded water bottl

  • Well, detail looking into wellhead
    2011
    driftwood, plastic bottles, resin, stainless steel mirrors, rope
    25' high, various other dimensions
    To create Well, I wandered my precipitously gentrifying neighborhood, salvaging old cobblestones from streets under repair, dragging driftwood from the East River, and collecting discarded water bottl

  • Well, detail of lever
    2011
    driftwood, plastic bottles, resin, stainless steel mirrors, rope
    25' high, various other dimensions
    To create Well, I wandered my precipitously gentrifying neighborhood, salvaging old cobblestones from streets under repair, dragging driftwood from the East River, and collecting discarded water bottl

  • Rise and Shine
    2010
    acrylic, pigmented resin, steel, water, light, pumps
    60" high x 72" long x 24" wide
    Inside Rise and Shine's transparent oval container is a translucent resin an island, complete with miniature trees, homes, fortress walls, and a mosque with minaret. The container sits on an oval

  • Rise and Shine, detail
    2010
    acrylic, pigmented resin, steel, water, light, pumps
    60" high x 72" long x 24" wide
    Detail of Rise and Shine, exhibited in a juried show at the DUMBO Arts Festival in 2010.

  • Rise and Shine, detail
    2010
    acrylic, pigmented resin, steel, water, light, pumps
    60" high x 72" long x 24" wide
    A second detail of Rise and Shine (see other slides)

  • Hiding Place
    2007
    willow branches, wood, stainless steel mirrors
    98" high x 98" diameter
    Hiding Place belongs to my series of "bunker" sculptures, in which I borrow the form of a military pillbox bunker. Woven of willow branches, Hiding place evokes a primitive shelter. There is

  • Hiding Place, detail
    2007
    willow branches, wood, stainless steel mirrors
    98" high x 98" diameter
    This is a detail of Hiding Place (seen in the previous slide). It was exhibited in Prospect Park, Brooklyn by NYC Parks. The Grand Army Plaza war monument is reflected in one of Hiding Place's st

  • Refuge
    2004
    turkey feathers, wood, plastic, plastic mirrors
    90" high x 75" diameter
    Refuge was sheathed in turkey feathers--the bird Benjamin Fraklin preferred to the eagle as America's national symbol--and had two embrasures with sky-blue mirrors. This 2004 project with NYC Par

  • Open House
    2010
    wood, stainless steel mirrors, carpet, steel, photograph
    168" high x 144" long x 98" wide
    The walls of Open House were composed of strips, suspended on hinges, inches apart. The exterior of each wall strip was wood; the interior was mirrored stainless steel. Breezes caused the walls to tre

  • Open House
    2010
    wood, stainless steel mirrors, carpet, steel, photograph
    168" high x 144" long x 98" wide
    Open House, detail: view from above
 








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