5216 North Damen
Chicago Il 60625
Originally a personal chef and longtime art collector, David Leigh
left his full-time culinary career to pursue more creative outlets.
The result is a part commercial, part studio, and part musical space
that epitomize Morpho’s eclectic ideology. In June 2004, Leigh opened
Morpho Gallery in a storefront space tucked away in Chicago’s
Bowmanville neighborhood. Never heard of Bowmanville? Once just a
quiet residential pocket, it now boasts a close-knit community of five
art businesses pioneered by Leigh, Morpho Gallery’s
Leigh also dabbles in antique dealing, classic rock Lps and gourmet catering, operating
a booth in Blue Star Antique Pavilion in Saugatuck, Michigan and
owning Lakeshore Catering in Chicago as well. His newest business venture, Dave’s Classic Lps, opened inside Morpho’s rear viewing room in early 2012.
Morpho also has a violin and piano teachers and on staff giving lessons twice a week.
Dedicated to exhibiting emerging artists and encouraging a
collaborative environment, Morpho is now entering their ninth year.
Upon entering the gallery, Morpho’s multifarious spirit immediately
pops. Every inch of the space is brimming with art and classic rock
blasts in the background. Leigh does not have a specific exhibition
philosophy and shows various media—etchings, small sculptures, framed
architectural drawings, paintings, mobiles, and jewelry. The artwork
even bubbles onto the sidewalk in front of the gallery. Leigh turned a
small, barren urban space into a community art garden which was been a
defining feature of Morpho Gallery since its conception. The garden
functions as a raw green space filled with oddities such as stuffed
animals and frame scraps anonymously placed by passersby—an
ever-evolving testament to Leigh’s aesthetic.
Leigh has always been inspired by both antique and contemporary
processes of printmaking; he was set in motion by Anchor Graphics, a
not-for-profit fine art press, that is now an integral program in the
Art + Design Department at Columbia College, Chicago. Leigh’s
particular fascination with etching and lithography permeates through
his private art collection and the artists he exhibits at Morpho
Gallery. Leigh’s collection includes Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
lithographs, J.J. Granville illustrations, Le Rire magazine covers,
and even botanical prints.
Morpho is open Friday and Saturday from 1-6 and by appointment all other days.