new-york

June Leaf

Edward Thorp Gallery

If a style can be detected in the half century’s worth of drawings and paintings by June Leaf that were gathered here recently, it might be called abstract surrealism. Lines hastily thrown together with a sort of jittery, automatist flair form more or less absurd “configurations”: sketchy figures, both elegantly drafted and shapeless, in fantastical scenarios. In Pencil Legs, 1980, a woman with pencils for legs is poised awkwardly “en pointe,” as it were. The writing utensils form a wobbly support structure that, together with the tentative lines of the rest of the drawing, suggests a precarious sense of self.

This hesitant line, in tandem with a strange sense of nervous energy, characterizes many of the drawings. In Study for Woman Monument #3, 1976, a figure stands tall, the raised arms resembling a candelabra, but her frail body tapers to one leg. In Top Lady, 1952, a woman is made up

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