It’s easy to get lost in David Leonard’s urban landscapes. Brush stroke by brush stroke, he depicts the density and ordered chaos of our modern existence. His paintings provide a macro perspective with micro precision,” wrote art dealer Julie Baker. Like the Ashcan School, the Impressionists, and the Precisionists who he has long admired, he has a deep and enduring fascination with the way industry and commerce has shaped our cities. He begins by taking photographs of compelling views of his favorite cities, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, then turns to oil on canvas to create incredibly executed interpretations of these cityscapes that straddle realism and abstraction. While he may pay close intention to details—a barrage of signage or a symphony of skyscraper windows—he never fusses over them. Instead, like the still-life painter Giorgio Morandi, Leonard explores the subtle relationship of form and color, whether his subject is a refinery, a bustling commercial district, or a sea of shipping containers.
"The primary subjects of my paintings are 21st century man’s working monuments, which represent our culture’s dedication to production and consumption. The essence of our way of life can been seen in our never ending attempt to subdue our environment. It is not my intention to either glorify or to condemn this objective, but to invite contemplation and leave judgment up to the viewer. I’m always looking for places where the man-made environment inundates the natural. I paint this in a way where subtle abstraction dis-associates elements from the environment,creating an oscillating view of the natural and the fabricated." David Leonard