Artist Statement: My sculptural work is a catalog of my observational surroundings; rooted in my interest in the environment, and paralleled with our inner emotional landscape, our relationships with others, and the spaces in which we find ourselves inhabiting. The objects I create evoke quiet vulnerability and physicality through biomorphic forms or recognizable imagery appearing in a fantastical format. I urge viewers to contemplate ideas of belonging and the connection between our psychological terrain, outer physical landscapes, and how we perceive our experiences. Use of materials like plastic and ceramics, intermingled with metal and natural fibers, is a way to examine and physically express the visible ephemerality and perception of permanence found both in nature and in our personal connections with people and places.
Paper, a dominant material in my practice and made from local plant fibers or collected recycled material, represents the fleeting ephemeral aspects of life both physical and metaphorical. It has the ability to be transformed time and time again, taking on new life through each form it becomes. I am also interested in paper as a source to record stories and ideas, which reflects our fading memories and the attempt to immortalize experience through written language.
Cyclical processes are always apparent in my observations of the world- in architecture, in nature, and also existing in who we are as humans individually and through relationships with others and our surroundings.
Leah Hamel is a professional artist and art educator based in Birmingham, Alabama. Growing up in Birmingham played a large part in the style of work that she creates today. Living in an urban setting, while spending any free time in the woods her entire life has set the stage for the parallels she draws in her work between the man-made and natural world. She finds that cyclical processes are always present- in architecture, in nature, and also existing in who we are as humans both individually and through our relationships with others.