For Lesley Vance (b. 1977, Milwaukee), each painting becomes a means to discover an invented image that, in the end, has the presence of fact. Her abstractions are filled with light and shadow; complex spatial arrangements; the familiar, if ultimately mysterious, presence of physical objects (she has cited sculpture and ceramics as important influences); and most of all, the material reality of paint itself. She transforms improvised marks into pictorial bodies with discernible weight, creating images that conjure both surrealist and abstract expressionist forbears. Gestures that occur quickly, without premeditation, are patiently given the opportunity to solidify as complete ideas. This process speaks to the mind’s capacity to subsequently make sense of sudden events, as well as the ways in which memories—products of the present as much the past—are molded from moment to moment.
Lesley Vance has been the subject of solo and two-person exhibitions at Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio (2023); 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 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.