Bed of Flowers, 2016
Wrought iron, earth, mulch, mesh, Wonderboard, plastic, living plants
May 3, 2016 – May 31, 2016
“A Flower Bed” is designed from live plant materials and incorporates a pattern of colors and species to simulate a quilt of flowers nestled in a wrought iron “bed” constructed from discarded grilles, gates and metalwork from Harlem homes that are themselves undergoing transformation. A “Flower Bed” proposes the ‘The Bed as a Landscape’ , surreptitiously introduced into the geography and topography of Marcus Garvey Park, created with the eye and hand of the artist, or, as in the words of Arjun Appadurai, identifiable as “an ethnoscape “ – of shifting landscapes of persons, identities and diaspora. When is a bed of flowers in a public park more than its name? As an international artist, Poller’s diaspora has brought her to Harlem as her home and seat for her creativity. For Poller the bed is never just a bed, as her series of “101 Beds” continuously underscores. Her choice of materials symbolically reiterates the transformation of Harlem in which the grille, gate and fence were tools of exclusion and protection, while a bed invites inclusion and security.
Poller gives new dimension to both word (“A Flower Bed”) and place (a Harlem Park), re-envisioned by artistic intervention
Note: Poller has collaborated with Harlem Urban Center, Michael Surdej , engineer and Member of 30 years of the Bronx Botanical Garden, and Stefan Handl (previously of Harlem Flo), while Marti Construction Contractors, Will Sharp Architect, and Anthony Fortuna have volunteered their expertise in the fabrication of the bed. Watering and care of the bed will engage the friends and neighbors of Poller and Marcus Garvey Park.
Leah Poller is a representational sculptor working principally in bronze. Classically trained at the prestigious Ecole Nationale Superieure de Beaux Arts of Paris where she resided for 20 years, Poller participated in a rich, multi-cultural environment, interacting with foremost members of the international arts communities of France, Spain, Italy and Latin America. Her singular approach to her subject matter was forged by this international experience. The Work: Returning to the United States, she established her studio in Soho (New York) and began the series of “101 Beds” in bronze that has been exhibited in galleries and institutions worldwide. In 2013, China beckoned and in 2015, she was selected as centerpiece artist, and the first/only foreigner in the Beijing Biennale of Female Sculptors. Thirty-five sculptures and a major installation piece were exhibited at this exhibition. After a record-breaking six-month exhibition of her bronze portraits in Harlem, including “Warrior Women” and “Double Dare”, an homage to legendary jazz saxophonist Fred Ho, Poller has been selected to execute several noteworthy portrait commissions. Poller’s Post Modernist approach transforms the inner thoughts of her subject into elaborate “headdresses”, heralding her expertise and the newly revived interest in representational art. Her large-scale works and installations have been exhibited in Beijing, Mexico, Miami, Providence and New York City. She has been featured on tv, and in numerous art publications. She has lectured extensively and held workshops on creativity. Poller lives and works in Harlem, dividing her time between NYC, Europe and Asia.