Unlock the abstract world of Lesley Vance in solo show at Columbus Museum of Art

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Unlock the abstract world of Lesley Vance in solo show at Columbus Museum of Art
Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2020, Oil on linen. Photography: Fredrik Nilsen Studio. Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery.

COLUMBUS, OH.- The Columbus Museum of Art presents the work of Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Lesley Vance in Lesley Vance: always circled whirling, on view April 21-Sept. 3. The exhibition of 27 paintings will showcase Vance’s engaging style of fluid abstraction and marks the artist’s first solo exhibition at a public institution.

Experimenting with movement and depth, Vance’s abstractions are filled with light and shadow, resulting in swirling, interwoven forms that both delight and disorient the eye. Each of her paintings become a means to discover an invented image that, in the end, has the presence of fact. Through quick gestures, hard contours and ribbons of color, Vance’s scenes take on a three-dimensional effect with allusions to surrealism and abstract expressionism. The artist has said “I…think about uniting opposing forces within a painting: making something that’s planar but has volume, or has passages that convey speed and chaos while others are slow and considered. There is something that happens in this collision of opposite things.”

Using a process of addition and erasure, Vance often finds inspiration from the physical world, such as a glazed ceramic surface, an arrangement of objects or another painting. Her practice transforms these images into distant but traceable recollections as her paintings take on a life of their own, hinting to the mind’s capacity to mold memories from moment to moment.

CMA holds a celebrated collection of American modernist painting, featuring artists Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe, among others. The Museum has offered these works as a point of departure for Vance’s exhibition, revealing the affinities between her practice and theirs. The exhibition will present paintings created by Vance since 2012, including three newly commissioned works that are directly inspired by the Museum’s collection, transforming the echoes of familiar modernist works into something new, unstable and strangely beguiling.

Lesley Vance: always circled whirling is organized by Columbus Museum of Art and curated by Tyler Cann, senior curator of modern and contemporary art at Honolulu Museum of Art and CMA’s former director of exhibitions and Pizzuti family curator of contemporary art. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, forthcoming this fall.
“If you were to think about a shape for the history of modern and contemporary painting—always moving forward, doubling back, branching off and turning inward—it might look a bit like one of Lesley Vance's paintings,” said Cann. “Given the Columbus Museum of Art's phenomenal collection of early 20th century American modernism and Vance's longstanding engagement with this history, it is very exciting to see what that conversation looks like here.”

Lesley Vance (b. 1977, Milwaukee) has been the subject of solo and two-person exhibitions at FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2012); Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin, Maine (2012); and Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California (with Ricky Swallow, 2012). Vance’s work is currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. and Mu.Zee in Oostende, Belgium. She has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, such as Aftereffect: O’Keeffe and Contemporary Painting, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2019); Painter Painter, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013); and Whitney Biennial 2010, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, among many others. In 2019, Gregory R. Miller & Co. published a monograph surveying the last five years of Vance’s work. Vance lives and works in Los Angeles.

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