water & art, water culture

Water and Art: The Work of Leah Poller

1 Comment 06 December 2010

Water and Art: The Work of Leah Poller

Leah Poller is a sculptor. Her body of work includes several pieces in which water themes are central. Poller was educated at the renowned Ecole Nationale Superieure de Beaux Arts in Paris, France where she lived for 20 years. In 1992, she returned to the US, established her studio in Soho and commenced an involvement in the art community, including those of Europe and Latin America.  Poller’s work has been featured on several major news outlets including CNN and Fox Television.

Poller has fused her abilities as a sculptor and wordsmith in her series the 101 Beds Collection, commenced after Poller suffered a back injury that left her bed ridden and forced to work on smaller scale. The injury and sentence to bed rest gave birth to a fascinating collection of sculpture.

The time that Poller spent in bed inspired her to further understand human interactions with the bed. “Exploring this in three dimensions has given full scope to my sense of humor, pathos, whimsy, sarcasm, tragedy and passion”, said Poller.

The photograph to the top right is a picture of Poller’s piece Waterbed, the first sculpture of the 101 Beds Collection. Cleverly, Poller incorporates fixtures found in a bathroom, including a spigot and piping as the head of the bed. Both of these details indicate that the Waterbed is a piece of art full of metaphoric meaning.

The photograph to the left pictures Poller’s piece entitled Hogwash. The intricacies and humor in this sculpture demonstrate the evolution of Poller’s thinking. In the bronze sculpture, pigs or hogs are crawling around a bunk bed. Poller explored the various meanings for the word “bunk” in the Webster Dictionary and learned that “hogwash” is another term for bunk.

At the head of the bed overtop the bunk is a shower nozzle. Comically, Poller creates visual play on words with this work. The hogs in the sculpture are literally being washed under the nozzle at the top of the bed.

Artists, novices and professionals alike appreciate Poller’s work. In September of this year, Poller presented Hogwash at the Governor’s Island Art Fair. The humor in her pieces was most quickly identified by children. “Children are less constrained. They can call a spade, a spade, without feeling bashful about it,” said Poller.

Poller’s work continues to inspire artistic innovations, using her sculpture as a malleable discipline that shifts at the hands and the heart of the artist. An eye for creativity and a commitment to complete a piece of work is the key to works like Poller’s. The translation of water themes in her work are evidence that water and activities around water can be curious, interesting, and sculpture worthy.

If you enjoyed this article you should also read:

Water and Art: The Work of Sonni Suryatmojo

Water and Art: The Work of Esteban Cahuimpan

Water and Art: The Work of Biliana Rakocevic

Water and Art: The Work of Monique Nerman

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