August 15, 2022
Sandra Leonard born in Germany, moved to Texas as a child. She has been creating wearable sculptural and costumes for over 30 years. She received her BFA at the University of North Texas State and her MFA in Sculpture at Northern Illinois University. Early on the Bauhaus was very influential on her development as an artist. She had the opportunity to visit the Stadtsgalerie Stuttgart and saw Oskar Schlemmer’s costumes displayed as sculpture. That experience had a profound impact on her and began her fascination with creating costumes. Later she became intrigued with collaborations between Merce Cunningham and Rauschenberg. Early on she worked with Emergence Dance theater creating costumes used in dance performances that traveled around the country and to Paris. Leonard continues to focus on sculptural costumes and performance. In the last 30 years she has been involved in numerous performances, improvised theater, dance , alternative fashion shows and installation projects. She has had work shown in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC and Paris, France. In 2014 she was selected Featured Artist for city wide annual event Chicago’s Artist Month. Leonard featured 10 sculptural costumes in a Surrealist fashion show “Crossing Into Dream” . In 2017 Leonard represented the Beverly ward in the “50 x 50” show at the Cultural Center in Chicago. She later presented a performance/dance entitled “ Wandering Bird” . She created 10 wearable sculptures which provided interpretive opportunities for performance artist and dancers. For the dance segments she collaborated with Sandra Kaufmann, a distinguished dancer and choreographer. In 2019 she designed interactive costumes for the Art Institute of Chicago’s “Room To Move” in celebration of the Bauhaus 100th anniversary. In 2021 Leonard presented costumes and painting in a solo exhibit “Sandra Leonard: Elements of the Imagination” at the Beverly Art Center. She most recently had a solo exhibition at the Evanston Arts Center entitled “Sandra Leonard: Unexpected Narratives With Flora And Fauna”.
Portrait by Tia Mitchell