ArtSlant Rack Room by admin

Big Gal Faith, Installation view from Faith & the Devil, Travelling exhibition

Arts and Letters: Lesley Dill in Conversation

By Lee Ann Norman

March 2015, Brooklyn, NY: Lesley Dill works in sculpture, photography, and performance, using a range of media and methods to explore themes of language, the body, and what it means to be transformed by an experience. She recently participated in Beautiful Beast at the New York Academy of Art, an exhibition that explored the intersection of beauty and abjection through sculpture, often depicting our humanity through distortion. I am always interested in work that defies disciplinary boundaries and convention, and Dill's keen fondness for words drove my curiosity about her work even more. I met with the artist at her home and studio in downtown Brooklyn recently where we discussed representations of the feminine and masculine in culture, mentorship in the art world, faith, and of course words.

Lesley Dill: Over the years I’ve made dress forms in various materials—paper, fabric, metal. I don’t think of the dress image as sentimental or pretty. It is a shape. I love Martin Puryear’s dedication to form. In my dress sculptures, I compress the bodice into fragility and open the skirt wide. The delicacy of the top invites intimacy, but defies familiarity because the expansion of the edge creates a boundary.

What changed my thoughts about gender presentation was when [my husband] Ed got a job in New Delhi in 1990, and I went with him. In New York we sculptors wore jeans, tight black t-shirts and work boots. In India, no one dressed like that—even the women who broke rocks for highways wore skirts. My friends who were lawyers and doctors wore either saris or salwar kameez. The look was very, very feminine. We lived there for two years, and that’s when I really began to associate femininity with power.

Lee Ann Norman: I don’t think we have that same sensibility here.

LD: No. Since living there, I’ve stopped wearing pants and only wear dresses. I was so influenced by that time in India. The interest in femininity and forcefulness is something that lasted for me.

LAN: Can you tell me a little more about words as armor, how that came into being when you started making the dress forms and adding words? It’s making me think of Islamic art where so much of it is based in calligraphy because to make an image of God would be considered blasphemous.

LD: Muslim warriors in the 18th century would go into battle and have a prayer to Allah engraved on their armor, and thus be protected by an amulet of words. Historically, there’s not been much protective armor for women. So what does that mean? Are we not battle heroes to be protected? Think of the woman character [Brienne of Tarth] in the TV series Game of Thrones—she’s fantastic—big and strong, and she’s armored, yet still a girl. My metal linguistic dresses are perforated with solids of metal words and spaces where they are wired together. Clothing, like language, selectively conceals and reveals.

Read More at artslant.com >> Image : Big Gal Faith, Installation view from Faith & the Devil, Traveling Exhibition [emphasis added]

Sculpture Magazine, September 2014 by admin



Sculpture Magazine, September 2014, Vol 33 No.7

A publication of the International Sculpture Center

On view at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum through October 13, 2014, www.decordova.org >>

A sculptor, photographer, printmaker, and performance artist, Dill has spent 20 years exploring the human form, language, and sensory experience. Language is her "touchstone [and] pivot point" : stitched and woven into her works, the words of Emily Dickinson, Salvador Espriu, Franz Kafka, and other writers find a new kind of visual life. This exhibition features 16 works made between 1993 and 2012, ranging from drawings, bronze and paper dress sculptures, and a large-scale metal and fiber tapestry to outdoor sculpture. While her early works display an ephemeral lightness of touch and a quiet spirituality, these recent pieces open fresh avenues into materiality, using the metaphors of language and clothing to explore the elusive boundaries separating mind, body, and spirit.

www.sculpture.org >> Image : Lesley Dill, installation view with (left to right) Dress of Opening and Close of Being, Rapture's Germination, and Wood Word Woman with Wood Word Pedestal

Lesley Dill at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum by admin


Lesley Dill at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

May 16 - October 13, 2014

VIDEO : Interview with Jennifer Gross, Chief Curator of the deCordova Scuplture Park and Museum >>

A 20-year survey of work by the American artist, the exhibition Lesley Dill features oil pastel drawings, a large-scale metal wall drawing, and bronze and paper sculptures in the Joyce and Edward Linde Gallery, as well as an outdoor sculpture on the Pollock Terrace.

Dill is known for combining language with the human form in a variety of mediums. In her work, she uses text as a mode of communication, as a physical subject, and as a symbol by painting it onto bronze sculptures, stitching it into paper, and sculpting it in metal. The words of poets including Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka, Salvador Espriu, and most recently Tom Sleigh, inspire and find physical form within her visceral works. Lines of text appear on disembodied heads, hands, and dresses–all reoccurring motifs in Dill's oeuvre–communicating the artist's interest in the politics of the figure, psychology, and faith.

Dill calls herself a collector and a creature of language: "I'm interested in the alchemy of language, the uncertainty of meaning and the resonance within our bodies with a metaphor clicks… Language is a manifestation of the human need to reach out. As much as my work is about language, it's also about what the image does to you, and how the two together make a whole."

The exhibition at deCordova features sixteen works made between 1993 and 2012. Highlighting Dill's ambitious artistic experimentation with material as well as the tension between two- and three-dimensional sculpture are Hair Poem Dress (1993), a small dress made of horse hair, thread, and paper; Rush (2006–2007), a 60-foot long mural made of silver foil, organza, and wire; and Wood Word Woman with Wood Word Pedestal (2011), a bust covered with oil stick and silver leaf.

Poems by Emily Dickinson are Dill's conceptual starting point for several works including Word Made Flesh (2002), a small paper sculpture of an outstretched hand holding a pile of letters; and Rapture's Germination (2010), a large oil pastel drawing on Tyvek. Here, Dickinson's words are enlarged, multiplied, and elongated, taking on new shape and meaning through their adaptation into physical form. The visual echoing of letters in Dill's practice alludes to mantras, prayers, and poetry, all of which are commonly recited repeatedly to enforce meaning and memory.

In her most recent artist's book, I Had a Blueprint of History, Dill found inspiration in the words of her contemporary, poet Tom Sleigh. The indignation and darkness Dill discovers in Sleigh's poems counterbalance Dickinson's references to ecstasy and faith, enabling a full range of emotional and psychological expression for Dill's images.

www.decordova.org >>