We love catching up with our emerging artists. And in Harlem, we’re rich with options. This week, we caught up with sculptor LeRone Wilson, 2011 winner of Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series at Art Basel, where he beat out 4,000 artists nationwide for the coveted title. He was recently featured in Lonny magazine and is preparing for an upcoming show at MoBia (the Museum of Biblical Art), as well and working on an outdoor sculpture in Harlem, among other things. LeRone’s medium is encaustic, a form of beeswax. He melts the wax with resin and pigment to create these scuplted paintings, as he calls them — highly textured ad very minimal confections that immediately challenge all of your senses. After a big 2012, with an even bigger 2013 looming, we asked LeRone to share his reflections with us on the past year and things to come. Here’s what he had to say:
You began 2012 with quite a bang, just coming off your big win at Art Basel. Tell us about your exciting year?
Well the Lord blessed me and just began to open doors for me. So I was blessed with many commissions this year; I got a residency with a glass design company to create some interesting work and I ended the year with an invitation to participate in a museum show at MoBia (The Museum of Biblical Art). I’m really excited about that.
Congratulations on your MoBia show. Tell us about it.
I had the honor of being asked to participate in an upcoming show called “Ashe to Amen” that will include works by African American artists who reference the bible in their work. My work will hang next to artists like Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Horace Pippin, Sargent Johnson, Sister Gertrude Morgan and others. So it is a tremendous honor. The show opens February 15 to May 26 at MoBia.
What piece will you be showing?
The piece, called “Glory #1,” reflects the biblical and scriptural themes I reference in my work. It’s light-capturing translucence speaks to the spiritual light of God’s word, while the very ancient and archival encaustic medium used is a testament to God’s everlasting presence. It’s texture immediately challenges the senses in a way that inspires a desire to touch, smell and even taste — just as the believer longs to experience such closeness to the creator.
We enjoyed seeing your work in Lonny magazine. Where else will we see you in the new year?
Well right here on the Morningsider of course! My work was also just shot as part of a story on MIST Harlem for New York Magazine and it was shot by Architectural Digest as part of an interior design project for a Park Avenue apartment.
My other projects include an outdoor sculpture project in Harlem and I’ll be working on a major design project as part of an artist residency with an art glass company that I’m looking forward to. So I’m looking forward to bigger and better blessings for the new year.
You mention blessings and we will see your work in MoBia. Which begs the question, how does your faith inform your work?
Well my work is all done to the honor of my Lord and Savior. He inspires my work, promotes it, provides for it, and makes it all possible. So for me, there is no work that I can create that is not centered in Him. In fact, all my paintings are signed “In His Name.”
I’ve had a long walk to get here and I’m still on the journey. Before I even entered the Bombay competition, I was praying about a tough financial situation. The Lord told me not to worry because He took care of it, but that I should look up to the clouds and paint what I saw, and He would bless it. What I saw was a path in the clouds, which is what I painted. That painting, “A Path Through the Sky” is what went on to win the competition and open so many new doors and opportunities for me. And it’s just getting started. That piece is like a covenant between me and my Father that He has chosen to bless the work of my hands. How can I not continue to look forward to my blessings?
Such a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with Lerone! For recent press on Lerone see the great article posted in Lonny magazine: Link to article in Lonny