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Leslie Drennan: A Sculptural Mediator of Environmental Narratives

Scholarship at Georgia State University, continues to refine her sculptural approach, emphasizing the materiality in sculpture. This scholarship has bolstered her academic

and creative pursuits, enabling her to explore and articulate the interplay between her themes and the ecological environment through a blend of innovative methods. These include expressive three-dimensional and narrative two-dimensional works that present

the complex dynamics of nature and humanity.

Drennan's work, Pretend You’re Not From a Place (2023), intertwines deeply with her personal stories, blending memories of family with broad ecological themes. As she awaited the birth of her daughter, she revisited the landscapes of her childhood in Kennesaw, Georgia. This sculpture reflects on life's fleeting experiences within the

natural world. She captures the subtle yet profound impacts of nature's impermanence

with materials like charred wood and naturally dyed fabrics, which embody both resilience and decay.

Pretend You’re Not From a Place (2023). 33’’ x 27’’. Handmade paper, thread, spray paint, ink, charcoal, fire. Courtesy the artist.

By intertwining her personal history with environmental awareness, Leslie Drennan articulates a compelling message about the cycles of life and the continual exchange between humanity and nature. She often states, "The transient aspects of life mirror the impermanence of nature itself," a theme that resonates throughout her body of work. As she fuses these themes, Drennan not only revisits her personal ties to the landscape but also encourages viewers to reflect on their environmental interactions. This synthesis deepens the impact of her sculptures and positions her as a vital voice in contemporary discussions on sustainability and the role of art in promoting ecological consciousness.

Siblings (2023). 31’’ x 21’’ x 12’’. Paper pulp, salvaged steel wire, aluminum wire. Courtesy the artist.

Her recent exhibitions, such as “Interconnect” (2024) at Echo Contemporary Gallery, Atlanta, further demonstrate her commitment to these themes. Here, Drennan's works dialogued with those of other artists, collectively underscoring the interconnectedness of human and environmental health. At Georgia State University, Drennan influences young artists by encouraging them to rethink their material use and how their work engages with societal and human development. Her work resonates with a growing audience that values art as a medium for social and environmental change, positioning her as a significant contributor to contemporary art discourse.

Written by Chirui Cheng

Photo credits to:Leslie Drennan

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