It wasn’t until 2006 that Leslie Levings began in earnest sculpting her tiny handmade polymer clay critters that have evolved into the Beastlies. And while the simple but expressive Beastlies‘ forms are what Levings has become most commonly associated with, they are far from the extent of her sculptural endeavors. For instance, since 2013, she has explored her Dubious Beasts series, which are frequently displayed alongside co-creator and contributor Shing Yin Khor‘s pieces. But even these works, which are sculptural renditions of fantastical creatures presented in a manner similar to a museum exhibit, weren’t Levings’ first professional non-Beastlies forays.
Pictured above is A Knot of Toads, which “was one of the first non-Beastlie pieces I did that I’m still fond of”, according to Levings. Made for 2009’s A Murder of Crows: A Children’s Primer group showcase at Los Angeles’ Gallery Meltdown, this 6 in. spherical sculpture has been conceptually revisited by the artist — “but in a different way” — for her upcoming Guide to Minor Gods & Household Spirits solo exhibition at Stranger Factory. And the new version is titled Crea (2017).

Crea

A harmonious blending of her A Knot of Toads form with the Dubious Beasts concept, Levings’ Crea depicts a ball of beasts though, according to the artist, she “didn’t sculpt any actual species” on the piece. “I tried to create creatures that seemed like plausible amphibians,” Levings states, elaborating that while some are “more on the fantastical end,” there are others that “could be pretty much any real frog, any newt.”

Once her original globular sculpture of intricate and imaginative creatures was completed, Levings entrusted the piece to Eva Funderburgh, who “had offered to help me make a bronze version of these a reality.”

Debut Versions of Crea

Furthering the Dubious Beasts‘ faux museum concept to its next logical level, these three unique bronze versions of Crea give the impression of preserved artifacts. With each produced through the traditional lost-wax casting technique and granted its own patina carefully applied by Funderburgh, these hefty hollow works resemble a remnant of some ancient, lost civilization.
And, building upon this concept, Levings cast the above-pictured editions in resin, each emulating precious minerals, specifically amethyst, jade, and turquoise. Just as reminiscent of unearthed, classical renditions as the bronze versions, these are limited to five pieces in each of the three color schemes.
Completing the museum worthy display effect, every Crea work comes with an elegant stand. As each of their roughly 6 in. spherical shapes have no proper bottom, meaning it’s coated with “creatures all the way around”, this aspect also grants the owner the option to “rotate and display the ball any way you like.”

Exhibition Details for Crea

Levings’ Crea will make its public display debut as part of her Guide to Minor Gods & Household Spirits solo exhibition at Stranger Factory. The opening reception will be on Friday, April 7th from 6-9pm, and all works in this exhibition will remain on display until April 30th, 2017 at the gallery’s physical location (3411 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

For more information on Leslie Levings:
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