Leah Flook’s sculptures, composite installations, and illustrations she calls “drawings” create worlds. What worlds is a question she probes in ways both liminal and highly constructed.
Her takes on the interior, peopled with decapitated guardian dogs and lamps that slither like snakes, are investigations of paranormal experiences that have propelled landscapes full of foreboding — a series of puzzle rooms that reassure and raise questions.
Like the small, still worlds of poems, they are laced with personal symbolism. Flook leverages a visual iconography rife with the dislocations of mysterious cat-and-mouse scenarios, the implied realities of Rube Goldberg contraptions. She mimics Looney Tunes’ Wile E. Coyote, creating portals. Her implied viewer-participant is kin to the Winchester Mystery House heiress, who
built staircases to nowhere, rooms to evade spirits that would ensnare us, leading us to more Questions.
A through-thread of death insinuates itself. In Close Call, Ophelia (2020), an almost-still video of fruit and candles against a backdrop where wind blows grasses is a portal to another time or to no time at all, somewhere that never decays. A staircase leads to freedom and constraint. On either side, like guardians — like her other instances of Cerberus, watchdog of the underworld — stand a white column and a tree built of wire, plaster, black flocking, epoxy putty. Death is never really there — or perhaps only in the incomplete mimesis of life.
A young Flook built doll houses and reimagined furniture into new structures. Now, “I make spaces I feel comfortable in. I make them that way so I can explore the uncomfortable,” she says. The duality is ever-present. Cockroaches and eyes inhabit her “drawings,” like engines of surveillance. But these are spaces of protection —where one can confront one’s demons and mortality.
— Eve Hill-Angus
Leah Flook is a Dallas based interdisciplinary artist and designer primarily working in digital media and sculpture. She holds a BFA in Sculpture and Painting from The University of North Texas, attended Virginia Commonwealth University’s Summer Studio Program for Sculpture + Extended Media, and received her MFA from Southern Methodist University.