published Sunday, May 25th, 2014

'Music to the eye': Works of artist Scott Leach are 'soft and spiritual'

Scott Leach’s “Pond Early Morning."
Scott Leach’s “Pond Early Morning."
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

If you go

What: Scott Leach Art Exhibit.

Where: Gallery 1401, Warehouse Row, 1110 Market St., Suite 121.

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, through June.

Admission: Free.

Information: 265-0015 or info@gallery1401.com.

When Scott Leach enrolled in the University of Chattanooga in 1962, he had no idea what to declare as a major.

After serving three years in the United States Army, the Chattanooga High School graduate says education was not a priority to him or his family. So when it came time to choose a profession, he was lost.

"I remember telling my wife (Judy) that I didn't have a clue as what to major in," Leach recalls. "She told me that, since I was really good at art, I should major in art."

So he did.

After receiving a bachelor of science degree in art education in 1968, he spent nearly 30 years teaching art in the Chattanooga Public Schools, retiring in 1996. Leach, who draws, paints, and sculpts, established the visual arts program at Chattanooga High Center for the Creative Arts, where the school's art gallery is named Scott Leach Gallery.

Leach, 74, and his wife are presently downsizing by selling their Belvoir-area home where they've lived for 45 years. And that means selling some of his beloved art collection, including works by local artists George Cress, Jimmy Collins, Ed Kellogg, Bobbie Crow, Ann Nichols, and Fanny Mennen. Oh, and some of his own work, too.

The art is being sold in an estate sale that started last Friday and continues through Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sale, conducted by Smoky Mountain Estate Sales, is at 3817 Lerch St.

The majority of Leach's work, however, will be exhibited throughout the month of June at Gallery 1401 at Warehouse Row.

"It has been many years since Scott has had a show in our area and we are thrilled he is allowing us to sell pieces from his private collection," says Sue Markley, Gallery 1401 owner and curator.

"Scott's palette is soft and spiritual and you can see that in his beautiful impressionistic landscapes as well as his figurative work," she says.

Leach describes his first technique as traditional. "The second technique is where everything is recognizable but loosely done. The third way is abstract. It's fun, but it's like playing around with a subject matter so that it becomes about 80 percent unrecognizable, but anybody who looks at it can decipher it."

Leach says much of his art reflects his faith, particularly his landscapes.

"I love the fleeting moments separating night and day when shadows embrace the light," according to his artist statement. "Solitude and mystery abound and the eye cannot absorb it fast enough. It is music to the eye, composed and bestowed on us by the Creator."

He says he'll continue to paint in a studio outfitted especially for him at his and his wife's new residence at Garden Plaza, an independent/assisted living community in Ooltewah.

"The manager of Garden Plaza came to our 'old' house because he wanted to see my artwork. He went back to Garden Plaza, cleaned out a storage room for me to have a studio space where I will paint and teach lessons to other residents."

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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