There is an absurd logic to these highly detailed paintings - a sort of magic realism that deviates from the familiar, breaking the rules of our world. Leahy presents a metaphorical family tree of contemporary man, re-reading historical postures, attitudes and norms with disorienting detail, deliberately ambiguous and open-ended. The mutations present in these portraits are implausible and outlandish yet obedient to certain mathematical principles we might call unifying laws; a host of ills that hover between the body and the mind; feeding the dead, yet maintaining a strong contemporary relevance.

Despite the use of ‘reliable’ materials and figurative precision, there are many ways to read and interpret the works. We could draw, from these headless gentlemen and moss-spewing ladies, themes of incompleteness or isolation, social order or aesthetics. We could think of the honourable characters, with their impressive facial hair, donning various species of succulent plant life - as simple stories or ‘contes philosophiques’ to explain difficult or dark parts of human life; as hybrids or hosts; ridiculous and dignified at the same time.

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