Sam Leach

New Realms of Perception

The work of Melbourne artist Sam Leach triggers us to rethink the histories and parameters of the world around us. VAULT spoke with Leach about his major new eponymous monograph.

By Neha Kale SEP 2015

Sam Leach’s paintings might be known for their oil-slick glossiness, but his preference for sheen doesn’t arrive at the expense of substance. The Melbourne-based artist - who won the Archibald and Wynne prizes in 2010, and recently showed at Time Space Existence, a collateral event of the Venice Biennale - combines impeccably flat surfaces with landscapes that recall the 17th century Dutch Masters, rendered with the kind of startling acuity that leads you to rethink your understanding of the real and the imaginary, let alone your place in the world.

Leach’s major new eponymous monograph – which features paintings such as Cinder with Partial Dymaxion (2013) and The Evacuation of the Real (2011) and charts an ongoing fascination with nature, non-human animals and the history of science – is an arresting survey of his artistic terrain. He spoke to VAULT about his interest in corporate capitalism, his fear of sealing his ideas in print and how dead ends are only visible in retrospect.

Your paintings draw heavily on 17th century Dutch traditions and combine figurative and abstract elements that invite the viewer to question their relationship with the world. What have been the big shifts in your practice in the last few years?
I guess I started off being interested in the way that we relate to the built environment and phenomena of the corporate foyer. This was around the 1990s and early 2000s, when corporate capitalists ... Subscribe to read this article in full

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Bendigo Art Gallery MCA Roslyn Oxley Gallery AGSA Art Gallery of New South WalesGovett Brewster