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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - A painter in Hopeulikit
Oil artist Larry Leach inspired by rural past
Larry Leach Headshot Web
Larry Leach

Business Ticker

• Y-Delta is the general contractor for the parking lot construction at GSU's Building 448 on 301 South. (Formerly a bowling alley and which now houses GSU Plant operation). The two phase project includes the primary parking lot in front of the building and the construction of a second, new parking lot north of the building. The project cost is $500,000. Y-Delta was the general contractor that repurposed the building for Plant Operations.
• Enmark Stations announced that 25 of its larger format stores will now carry UNFI products. UNFI is the leading independent national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and related products. UNFI snack items such as kale and falafel chips, Tanka buffalo jerky, organic candy, drinks such as kombucha and organic sodas, and frozen products including ice cream will give Enmark clients healthy snacking options.
• Dr. Eli Penn is opening a new practice in late September, East Georgia Gastroenterology, located in the EGRMC Medical Office Building, suite 102. Dr. Penn, a gastroenterologist has practiced in Statesboro since 2012. The Wake Forest grad earned his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. His wife Dr. Elizabeth Penn is a pediatrician in Statesboro. Dr. Eli Penn can be reached at (912) 486-1600.
• Farmers Market Vendor of the Week: Cakes by Rosie

 

        Just a little past Hopeulikit sits a non-descript metal building. Most people never even notice it.
        Inside this 5,000-square-foot building, however, is one of the most unique "home-based businesses" in Bulloch County, and the gateway to the masterpieces of legendary oil painter Larry Leach.
        After completing a four-year stint as the National Endowment for the Arts artist in residence for the state of Louisiana, Leach decided to return to the classroom. And, while teaching at LSU's Alexandria campus, Larry met his future wife Sheila, who just finished her MFA and had accepted the position of curator for the Alexandria Museum.
        Probably Leach's smartest career move was marrying Sheila. One of Sheila's greatest strengths is the ability to connect. If you have read Malcom Gladwell's book, "Tipping Point" then you would completely understand her definition as a world class connector. Sheila quickly connected with some of the greatest artist in the world along with the top galleries, collectors and curators.
        Among those were, Paul Brach, the founding Dean of CalArts in Los Angeles and later the chair of the Division of the Arts of Fordham University at Lincoln Center. Another connection was Bernice Steinbaum. Bernice owned one of the country's most successful art galleries in the SoHo district of New York. Her client list boasts some of the most influential art collectors in the world. Because of connections like these, Leach gave up teaching and devoted his career to art full time, following his very successful curator wife around the country.
        In 2006, after a long and distinguished career, Sheila and Larry Leach decided to relocate to Bulloch County after they inherited the land where they now reside. Sheila had completed her contract as director of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon and they thought their children had left the nest, which Larry wonders if that will ever really happen. Larry continues to paint and teach through his Artist in Residence appointment for ColArt America. Tim Chapman keeps Sheila challenged as the curator for the Averitt.
        When you first see one of Leach's masterpieces, you are overwhelmed by the depth, incredible detail, rich colors and physical size of the landscape oil paintings. The last few decades of his career he has devoted to landscapes painted from memories of his childhood.
        "I was reared by my grandparents in rural, rustic Western Louisiana," he said. "I was in third grade before we had electricity and in seventh grade when we purchased our first TV. I was forced to enjoy nature in every form. The rolling hills, the pine trees and swamps. Every part of it spoke to me in unimaginable ways. During this time I learned to be alone and enjoy it. I developed a great appreciation for landscapes."
        He is most known for two collections of landscapes, smaller 20" x 20" "spontaneous" landscape portraits that are painted in a series and sold in groups of 10 or more. And large landscapes sized at over 20 feet in length and width. Leach describes these paintings by the way they make you "think of the totality of your existence."
        Leach defines his work ethic and success much like Paul Cézanne who was quoted the day before he died as "still working to be good." As the popularity and demand of his work has increased over the years, Leach said the most difficult part of it all, is also the simplest part of it, which requires showing up every day.
        Leach's next large show will be at the famed Foosoner Art Museum in Melbourne, Fla., which opens Oct. 17. He is available for private commissions and sells his work directly out of his working studio. You can reach him at lleachart@hotmail.com or find him on Facebook at Larry Leach Art.

        Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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