June 26th – September 30th
Airlie Gardens will welcome Matthew J. Leavell as the artist for their 2017 Summer Art Exhibit, Imagine. Leavell, a sculptor currently based out of Mobjack, Virginia, with roots in the Port City, specializes in steel, cast iron, wood and glass mediums. The exhibit will feature an eclectic assortment of large, colorful, whimsical pieces often constructed of recycled and repurposed materials. Leavell’s work will be on display throughout Airlie June through September. Participate in a scavenger hunt to win a prize! Included in Garden Admission & Free for Airlie Members!
About the Artist- Matthew Leavell
Matthew J. Leavell is a self taught Mobjack, Virginia (Mathews County) based artist currently focusing on the creation of small and medium scale sculpture in steel, cast iron, wood and glass. He primarily utilizes salvaged and recycled materials, preferring raw materials that bring their own history, character, and soul to a new work of art. Born and raised in a small mid-western town, Matthew briefly attended college at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, majoring in theology. Matthew spent his summers as a young man traveling in Latin America, volunteering with an NGO in the Darien Jungle region of Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. He soon found himself disillusioned by his experiences with modern organized religion, left college, and embarked on a decade long journey of self discovery. Matthew struggled through his early adult years, seemingly unable to wring enough creativity out of any of the projects or career paths he applied himself to. Striving to find himself, he once restored and lived on a vintage sailboat, built a 2200 square foot custom home singlehanded, worked as an electrician, a handyman, and eventually owned and operated a small custom carpentry and fabrication business. All the while he created art in a myriad array of mediums and scales, simply because he knew no other way to exist. Simple repairs often evolved into elaborate, detailed works of functional art. The personal value of a project was not measured by it’s practical or financial significance, but by it’s potential for creative expression. This ramshackle assortment of life experience, work ethic, creative angst, experimentation, and exposure to a variety of trades, crafts, and art forms have culminated to create an emerging artist uncommonly capable of bringing artistic concepts on nearly any scale to fruition.
Matthew’s Pieces are often created using recycled, salvaged, and upcycled metal components from various sources. He sees a neglected, rusting pile of steel as a literal representation of someone’s broken or abandoned dreams. Purchasing these materials and through hard work, inspiration, creativity, and persistence creating an entirely new and beautiful work of art, is not only a personally fulfilling process, but one that stands as an analogy of the nature of life in general.