Telipogon Goitévo – Leah Aripotch

2022 | 10 x 9 x 10 inches | Mild Steel, Damascus by Joshua Prince

Leah creates steel sculptures with lifelike realism using both forging (blacksmithing) and fabrication (welding) techniques. Her primary tools include welders, a propane forge, hammers (ranging from a tiny ball peen hammer to a 30 lb. power hammer), and an array of steel grinders, with which she carefully manipulates stock industrial steel into stunning organic forms. By adapting traditional and modern metal forming techniques in innovative and unprecedented ways, she is able to shape steel into highly detailed creatures of otherworldly origin that appear as if they were cast.

Drawing from her love of science fiction and her obsession with mother nature’s strangest offerings, her work blends organic forms with the surreal in an effort to cast light on some of the darker aspects of the human condition. Recently, Leah has begun to build steel monsters that are both recognizable - insofar as they are inspired by strange flora and fauna including orchids and carnivorous plants - but also uncanny and even extraterrestrial. These explorations range from anthropomorphized plants with seemingly nefarious intentions, to blind eight legged creatures being controlled by parasitic eyeball monsters. This new series, which features themes like gluttony, emotional armor, and codependency, serves as an outlet for Leah to continue her investigations into other aspects of the human experience, as well as test the limits of her own imagination.

Leah Aripotch

Leah Aripotch is a metal sculptor based in Oakland, California. She was born is 1987 and raised in Montauk, New York. She received her BFA from Academy of Art University in 2012. In tandem with her graduation, she designed and built a line of jewelry for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in collaboration with MFA Fashion designer, Teresa Field and Textiles designer, James Thai. Snake Bag, a sculptural handbag made for that collaboration, has since been published in Metalsmith Magazine and CAST, a coffee table book featuring art and objects made using humanity’s most transformational process. Upon graduating, Leah began a paid apprenticeship at a commercial fabrication shop in San Francisco under the mentorship of Brian Martin. Since 2015, she has focused exclusively on fine art sculpture. Her work has been exhibited across the country at venues such as the National Museum of Metal, the Fuller Craft Museum, Museum of Museums, and the Wayne Art Center. She lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats and builds monsters and aliens out of her metal shop.

Leah monsters portrait - Leah Aripotch
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