Emily Leonard lives in Nashville, Tennessee and graduated magna cum laude from Furman University, Greenville, SC, in 1998. She received the Award for Outstanding Achievement and Service to the Department of Art for three years. Leonard also studied in Cortona, Italy, through the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program. She went on to have a number of solo exhibitions as well as being included in important group shows. Leonard's work is in a number of private and corporate collections.
I am always looking for something to unfold; to know again what I have known forever. I am always looking for that which has always been; for salvation and to let it settle at my body.
Two springs ago I returned to Nashville for a show and stayed in my childhood home for three weeks. I took to walking in the woods there first thing in the morning as I had before school when I was young. The same things greeted me in that land as had when I was fourteen. The coat on my shoulders was heavier than before: carrying a bit more tragedy, some loss, a war, weakness, travel. But the peace that met me was the same as always, loving.
These are images of mornings. These are the kinds of mornings when the trees are weary and so sink into their roots, the deepest and the oldest ones. These days feel like the oldest days. The branches are lush and sweeping and I think it must be from a grace that comes with age. They are weary from reaching and holding up so much weight. Here are some things that are always the same; I see it in part. I find a well there and I can’t help but think of repentance, in as much as repentance is returning to a well. In as much as returning is to come up with the coming of the sun. To wake with the knowledge of violence and the certainty of mourning and still to wake. To place a foot onto the same stone out your door each morning and to lead with the next. To watch the land around your house and then to look at the sky. To hear the low loud drill and to walk towards quietness. To know longing and still to long. Here is repentance. So I watch the trees rest into their taproot and I return there too.