June 27th – September 30th
Plan a visit to Airlie Gardens from July until September to experience Imagine, a vibrant and whimsical display of sculptures created by Virginia artist, Matthew J. Leavell. These large scale installments consisting of colorful florals and a variety of artistic creations will spark your curiosity and leave you feeling inspired.
Exhibit is Included with Garden Admission & Free for Airlie Members
Hours of Operation:
Kids can participate in a scavenger hunt to earn a prize!
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.