Arts Visual Arts

WCU Fine Art Museum Hosts Immersive Art Installation by Courtney M. Leonard

The WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center is presenting a new immersive art installation, BREACH: Logbook23 | CORIOLIS, through May 5. The installation, created by ceramic artist Courtney M. Leonard, is part of a series that explores cultural and historical connections to water, fishing practices and sustainability.

Courtney M. Leonard

“Courtney Leonard brings curiosity, receptiveness and a bold voice to her installation work,” says Carolyn Grosch, the museum’s curator of collections and exhibitions. “Her process is rooted in community engagement and shaped by the cultural specifics of place, which is an approach that the Museum respects and values. Her BREACH series springs from her curiosity about how water, food sovereignty and culture intertwine. We found her work to be an exciting new lens for thinking about subsistence, health and environmental impact.”

Leonard, a member of the Shinnecock Nation in Long Island, New York, started the BREACH series in 2013 in response to the disruption of her community’s cultural practices resulting from climate change and coastal erosion. For this newest installation of the series, she visited Western North Carolina in 2022, met with members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and visited regional sites associated with water and fishing, including the Tribal Trout Hatchery in Cherokee and a historic fish weir on the Tuckasegee River.

These conversations and experiences informed the final look and content of Logbook23 | CORIOLIS, from her color palette and audio soundtrack to the shapes painted on the walls. “Courtney Leonard’s visit was an amazing opportunity to bring Shinnecock and Eastern Band Cherokee perspectives together in conversation and to offer an immersive gallery experience that invites Museum visitors into that dialogue,” says Grosch.

A reception for the installation will take place on Thursday, February 16, from 5–7 p.m. at the museum. The reception will include a gallery talk by Leonard and complimentary snacks and drinks.

The WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center is located at 199 Centennial Drive, Cullowhee. Visit arts.wcu.edu/BREACH to learn more about the exhibition and reception. To see Bardo Arts Center’s full calendar of events, please visit arts.wcu.edu/explore or call 828.227.ARTS. The WCU Fine Art Museum is open Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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