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Leo Amino

Japanese/American
(1911–1989)

#193
1984

Resin
3.25 x 8.25 x 5.5 in.
Gift of Judy Amino
1997.34

Leo Amino is a Japanese born, American artist known for his abstract expressionist sculptures in wood and resin. He is considered one of first American artists to use plastics (resin) as a primary medium of sculpture. Known for his innovations in cast plastics and other raw materials, Amino’s work challenged traditional sculpture construction with direct carving and natural materials.

Amino was mostly self-taught in sculpting wood, working for a wood importer and bringing home samples to carve. Two years after studying under sculptor Chaim Gross at the American Artists School, Amino’s work was featured in the 1939 New York World’s Fair, after which he had his first solo exhibition in 1940. Amino’s work was interrupted at the start of World War II, during which he served as a translator in the US Navy. After the war, Amino began to notice the use of synthetic resin as a substitute of raw materials during the war effort. He first used resin as an additional material to his wood sculptures, but eventually he used it by itself in sculptures. These sculptures, created later in his life, illustrate his shift to exclusively resin sculpture work, with his use of colored resin shapes to depict movement and emotion within the pieces.


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