Studio Gallery: Tom Leaper

3rd October 2020 - 31st October 2020

Tom Leaper

‘Ladies of Lockdown: a time to reflect, a time to change’

Our thoughts were with those during lockdown and in the time after. As the world carries on turning, we need to remain hopeful, be careful, and look after each other, ensuring we can be safe together again.

A proportion of the show’s revenue will be donated to Women’s Aid to support the increase in women needing refuge during lockdown. More than 40,000 calls and contacts were made to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline during the first three months of lockdown, most by women seeking help, new figures show. (BBC report)

Ladies of Lockdown: a time to reflect, a time for change.

Known for the creative freedom of his practice and skill in metalwork, Tom Leaper’s ‘Ladies of Lockdown’ series acknowledges the struggles we have faced during the height of the pandemic. His work allows us space to reflect, and to show kindness in a time when its most needed.

During Lockdown Tom went into his studio with no fixed ideas, just an urge to start working, to try to make sense of the situation. His first step was to play around with bronze sheet metal, building free form shapes and trusting in the creative process.

These unstructured shapes developed into a series of small bronze heads and it was during this time that Tom started to read media reports of the increase in domestic violence. With these troubling reports playing on his mind, the sculptures began to evolve, ‘they finally made sense to me, they held a purpose’.

He AutoCAD mapped the heads and enlarged them using laser cutting technology, reassembling the figures into the larger versions. The Ladies of Lockdown are finished in a black patina, with the bright gleam of exposed bronze around their edges and mounted on Portland stone Jesmonite plinths.

The Ladies of Lockdown celebrate individuals’ differences and strengths. The women’s faces are at once beautiful and haunted, pained yet hopeful. These abstracted forms invite you to engage, their eyes drawing you in. Their steady presence encourages those who have suffered during this dark time to recognise their inner previous selves and find strength.

Ripples of uncertainty have spread across the globe during 2020, throwing many lives into turmoil. These works represent a time where the numbers of women seeking refuge have risen by 85%. Now is a time when we need to look after each other, a time to keep each other safe.

Tom’s vision for this show acknowledges a world that will carry on, but not as it once was. It represents the lives that will carry on, but not as they once were.

Moving forward, we’re presented with an opportunity to reflect inward, accepting how these dark times have affected us, to regain strength, and to make a change.

Tom Leaper – Brochure