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Virginia Leonard

Virginia Leonard (b.1965 Auckland, New Zealand) graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design in 2001. Virginia’s focus is working with clay and her work is a response to the broken parts of her body.

She writes: “I don’t call it a Spoiled Foot, even though it’s a good summary. I call it a rotten foot. Picked up and then discarded flying like Aphrodite and then bashed into the brick wall. I come limping home relishing in my attention. I am pain intolerant.

But I am not her I am the blacksmith potter waging war in the backwaters. Trying my hand at this and that. Turning, turning, hiding my limp behind the iron and fire. I am only Vulcan, only Vulcan.”

My works are self-portraits that address my bodily scarring and chronic pain. Chronic pain has no biological value, modern medicine cannot reliably treat chronic pain, it lacks both language and voice. The language of my clay making is my attempt to rid my body of trauma and reduce my level of chronic pain.” Winner of the Molly Morpeth Canady Art Award,Whakatane (2012) and winner of the Walker and Hall Waiheke Art Award,Waiheke Art Gallery, Waiheke (2011). Her recent exhibitions include ‘Tippy Toes’ Installation Contemporary curated by Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Rachel Kent and Assistant Curator Megan Robinson for Sydney Contemporary Art Fair (2017); Solo installation at artgenève, Geneva, Switzerland (2018); Spring1883, The Windsor Hotel, Melbourne AUS (2016); Christmas Time Nurses, PAULNACHE, Gisborne NZ (2017);The Effects of Crack, Objectspace, Auckland (2014) and EXODUS, The Vivian, Matakana (2018). Virginia won the Merit Award at the Portage Ceramic Awards, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland (2015); a consistent Finalist in the Wallace Art Awards and was a Finalist in the National Contemporary Art Award, Waikato Museum.Leonard was the recipient of the Ceramic residency at Guldagergaard, Denmark (July 2017); and was curated into a group exhibition at Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark (August 2016).

She lives and works in Matakana, NZ and is represented by PAULNACHE Gallery, Gisborne, New Zealand.