Saskia Leek: Desk Collection
15 Dec 2012 – 14 Apr 2013
Each painting—be it of a bouquet, church, pussycat, owl or a bunch of grapes—speaks of something and somewhere inaccessible, yet deeply enticing.Isabel Haarhaus. NZ Listener
In an era of ever larger and louder artworks, Saskia Leek is known for the intimate quality of her paintings. Desk Collection brings together nearly 60 of her works in a survey exhibition spanning 1994–2012.
The exhibition traces Leek's rise to prominence in 1995 as a young artist in the touring exhibition Hangover, which located her with a new generation of artists whose work delved into popular and youth culture. From the diaristic, comic book nature of these early works, Leek evolved into studies testing the possibilities and limits of the painted image. More recently, Leek received national acclaim as a finalist in the Walters Art Award, New Zealand's most important art prize, for Yellow is the Putty of the World. Her paintings often begin in response to other paintings, sometimes the iconic masterpieces of modernism, but just as likely works by hobby and folk artists sourced from junk shops. Deploying the familiar and hackneyed motifs of still life, landscape and portraits of houses and pets, Leek reinvigorates worn-out imagery as reconsiderations of painting for a contemporary age.