Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock) is an artist and filmmaker, who has contributed to the Offshore Art movement. Leonard's current work embodies the multiple definitions of “breach”, an exploration and documentation of historical ties to water, whale and material sustainability. In collaboration with national and international museums, U.S. embassies, cultural institutions, and Indigenous communities in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand, Leonard's practice investigates narratives of cultural viability as a reflection of environmental record. Leonard holds an MFA in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the College of Ceramics at Alfred University, with additional degrees from The Sheridan Center For Teaching and Learning at Brown University, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, with a concentration in Museum Studies and 3D Design.
“Breach" is an exploration of historical ties to water and whale, imposed law, and a current relationship of material sustainability. Navigation lies within visual translation, acceptance, and pursuit of process. Charting exists as a logging of record: documentation and mapping of each point where the surface breaks.
As a visual acknowledgement, my work examines the evolution of language, image, and culture through video, audio, and tangible objects. Each component, a resonating moment, documenting both social and environmental issues acknowledged through the cartography of mixed media.
Conceptual breakdown begins by choosing one English word. To many post-colonial generations, English is a language marked by colonization, imperialism, and foreign ideologies. We strengthen the dissemination of our words through an emphasis of both the tongue and the octave. The choice of medium and material is just as imperative in connecting concept, content, and signiﬁer.
Language can be ﬂuid if we allow each element an existence beyond a single predetermined deﬁnition; to have an open dialogue that shifts translational comfort and interpretation. By visually mapping this exploration, my work exists to question our relationship to cultural landscape and its sustainable continuity. Each title acting as a segue to an open conversation...