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Inert Motion No. 1

by Leo Chandler

Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 48 x 31
Purchased through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1972

Inert Motion No. 1 by Leo Chandler

The Artwork

Through use of repeated geometric shapes and subtle tonal variance, Leo Darrell Chandler produced an artwork worthy of it's title, Inert Motion No. 1. As the name implies, the objects in the painting are inert, or lack the power to move. However, the shift of hue from muted red to vibrant red in the repeated shapes creates the illusion of subtle motion. This deception is reinforced by the columns of silvery triangles which appear darker at the top and bottom of the composition. The result is a painting that is decidedly an example of op art, or optical art.

The Artist

Leo Darrell Chandler had found himself a four-time convicted criminal by the age of 33. It was in prison that he became an accomplished artist. While facing a 50 year sentence, he began to copy cartoons and the images he saw in art books. When University of Tulsa art professors visited the prison, they were drawn to Chandler's work. In 1971, he accepted an invitation to exhibit at the University of Tulsa. During this time he also finished high school, earned a four-year scholarship to the University of Tulsa, and found a part-time university job. In 1972, the professors were among those who helped persuade former Governor David Hall to parole Chandler though he served only a fraction of his sentence. At the time of his release from prison, he stated that he had been locked up for 18 of his 36 years. Chandler went on to become an accomplished and respected artist exhibiting in the Tulsa area as well as having work included in the international exhibition Americans in Paris in 1976.