Artist Leach takes ‘Flights of Fancy’

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Johnson Center for the Arts 2019 exhibition calendar includes Beverly Leach, mixed/experiment, August 7 – September 21.

But that gives no clue as to what visitors to the JCA will experience when they view Beverly Leach’s amazing, thought-provoking exhibition.

The show could be titled “Wings and Things” but that would bring to mind a fast-food chicken restaurant. So, perhaps, “Bees, Butterfly Wings and Other Whimsical Things” would tell something more about the artist’s work.

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But, to appreciate the talent, the spirit and the passion of Beverly Leach, those who visit the exhibition must come with an open mind and allow their senses to absorb the whimsical wonder of her artwork.

Leach’s exhibition is actually titled “Flights of Fancy” and it is that. The show is about flight and much of the artwork is fancy and fanciful. But, it’s the wings that give the show flight.

Leach has been a beekeeper for eight years. She has traveled to eleven countries and, in each, as here at home, she has been intrigued by the “rhythm, flux and flow of daily life experiences.”

“Many ideas and experiences influence the works in ‘Flights of Fancy,’” Leach said. “I experimented with many different materials, ranging from the use of found images and objects to knick-knacks collected along the way.”
Leach said each piece tells its own story and the collection of pieces depict many varied interests and thoughts.

“Combining various images, objects and materials reflects an eclectic nature and unique point of view on life experiences,” she said. “My whole visual statement begins with a faint or fleeting indication of an idea about something I’ve considered. My interpretation process reflects ruminations on some sort of experience, pondering on our human condition and the world we move through each day.”

And, too often, Leach said humankind runs roughshod over the world we live in. That theme runs throughout much of Leach’s artwork.

Her love and respect for nature is especially evident in one piece that could be and might be, titled “Silent Spring.” The piece references Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” that was published in 1962 and exposed the hazards of DDT and helped set the stage for the environmental movement.

The large piece includes a letter to the editor of an area newspaper that bemoans the way Mother Earth is being treated and also dozens of found objects that are nature’s jewels.

“We must take care of the future; that is the legacy for our kids,” Leach said. “And our approach to life — the worldwide approach to life — should be the Golden Rule. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”

Leach’s artwork often depicts giving hands, hands that are sprinkling blessings up the earth.

The bee and butterfly wings that are Leach’s “Flights of Fancy” represent the transformation necessary to save the earth.

“We have the capacity to foresee and forestall,” she said.” If we don’t, love and respect nature, if we don’t take care of our future, we will end by destroying the earth.”