Virginia Leonard

New Zealand

The emotional, emotive and intensely personal ceramic works created by artist Virginia Leonard are powerful self-portraits that address her bodily scarring and experiences of chronic pain - the result of injuries obtained in a serious motorbike accident in London in 1986, which left her hospitalised for two years.

Her ceramic practice has followed a successful painting career in her native New Zealand and her painterly approach is evident in her current work in which she moves clay as she would have moved paint on a canvas, making the material gestural as she builds her constructions. For Leonard the language of the clay making is an attempt to rid her body of trauma and reduce her level of chronic pain. Clay is visceral, oozy and clumpy. It resembles bodily scarring but is also a precarious medium that serves as a reminder of bodily fragility.