Leo Sewell’s sculpture currently on display at the William Benton Museum of Art has a whimsical quality guaranteed to make visitors smile.
Upon closer inspection, the way the artist integrates eclectic items chosen for their color, shape, texture, and durability and turns them into a meaningful whole captures the imagination in a “how did he think of that” moment.
From Object to Object: Found Sculpture by Leo Sewell is on display at the Benton through May 20. Each piece is made from items Sewell has collected from dumps, yard sales, flea markets, and side-of-the-road castoffs.
Born in Annapolis, Md., Sewell was a child when he first began collecting items he found in a nearby dump. He subsequently moved to Philadelphia, where he further developed his passion for turning recycled materials into artwork, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in art history from the University of Delaware. His thesis was titled: “Use of the Found Object in Dada and Surrealism.”
Animals figure prominently in Sewell’s artwork, and he often uses objects of sentimental value when creating commissioned works. His sculpture has been featured in collections held by corporations, and in private collections, as well as museums throughout the world. Among the public places where his work can be found are the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Md.; the Shonandai Cultural Center, Fujisawa, Japan; Museo de Sera International in Madrid, Spain; Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum; and the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Sewell is a founding member of an artists’ group known as the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers.