Lesley Dill: A Ten Year Survey – Exhibition curated at Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art Tours the Nation through 2003

NEW PALTZ — Recent works by contemporary artist Lesley Dill comprise a new exhibition organized by the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Lesley Dill: A Ten Year Survey opens on Saturday, March 9, 2002 and will remain on exhibit through April 21, 2002 before traveling to museums in Chicago, Colorado, Hawaii, and Arizona through 2003.

Lesley Dill, Poem Hair Dress. Images available at www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/dill.htmlThis exhibition is the second in the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art’s annual series of one-person exhibitions that feature contemporary artists who live and work in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. Lesley Dill maintains residences and studios in New York City and Accord, New York.

Impossible to categorize, Dill is at once a painter, printmaker, sculptor, photographer, and performance artist. Working both small and large, she shifts with ease from the intimacy of a book to the far more public format of a billboard. But no matter what the size or medium, Dill continues to explore the elusive boundaries between mind, body, and spirit.

One of the most identifiable facets of her work is the way she examines the function of language and its relationship to the physical. In 1990 Dill was given a book of Emily Dickinson’s poems and, for her, it was like a revelation. Since then, language has played a major role in her artwork. Words, at times legible and at times illegible, spill from mouths, are written across bodies, and cascade from body parts.

Her works are rich in texture and temporal associations, evoking elusive, layered meanings. Language bridges the private world of thought with the public discourse of shared experience, and Dill uses it in combination with image to evoke the spiritual content of human experience.

Referring to the work, Dill stated “I think of words, and especially poetry and especially Emily Dickinson’s as a kind of spiritual armor. A protecting skin of words that dresses the soul with inspirations of vulnerability, fear and hope. As clothing cloaks and reveals, so does language, which can selectively present or obscure.”

As exhibition curator Nadine Wasserman explains: “Although Lesley Dill has had numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad, this is the first survey exhibition of work by this prolific artist. Containing 32 works and 3 performances on videos, Lesley Dill: A Ten Year Survey is a retrospective of the contemporary artist’s work from the last ten years that demonstrates Dill’s depth of subject matter as well as her breadth of creativity.”

The following events are planned to coincide with the exhibition. All events are free and open to the public.

  • Museum Curator’s Tour – Saturday, March 9, 5-6pm.
    SDMA Curator of Exhibitions Nadine Wasserman will conduct a guided tour of Lesley Dill: A Ten Year Survey.

  • Exhibition Opening Reception – Saturday, March 9, 6-8pm.
    Chandler Gallery of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.

  • Lesley Dill Art Lecture – Wednesday, April 3, 7:30 p.m., Lecture Center 102.
    The Student Art Association has invited artist Lesley Dill to present a lecture about her work for the Art Lecture Series.

  • Image Body Spirit: Open Poetry Reading – Thursday, April 4, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
    The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and the William W. Vasse Poetry Series invites the public to read their favorites poems. Set amid Lesley Dill’s text-inspired artwork, the Chandler Gallery of the SDMA provides a rich environment in which to share poetry.
Lesley Dill, Ghost Eyes. Images available at www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/dill.htmlA 64-page catalogue containing sixteen color plates and three essays accompanies the exhibition. It is generously funded by Jim and Mary Ottaway of New Paltz, New York. It is the second catalogue in a series that features contemporary artists who live and work in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. The catalogue contains the following essays:

“Tell It Slant” by Arlene Raven
Arlene Raven, 2002 recipient of the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism, is an internationally acclaimed art historian who has published seven books on contemporary art and numerous critical and literary essays.

“Lesley Dill: Seeing, Speaking, Singing” by Janet Koplos
Janet Koplos is a senior editor at Art in America magazine in New York City. Over the last 25 years she has written nearly 2,000 reviews and articles for national and international art publications and American newspapers. She is the author of Contemporary Japanese Sculpture (Abbeville Press, 1991). She also has a particular interest in Dutch contemporary art and in contemporary crafts and crafts criticism. She lectures regularly and has contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues.

“Read Me Like a Book: Conversations with the Artist, Revisited” by Susan Krane
Susan Krane is director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and was formerly director of the CU Art Galleries, University of Colorado at Boulder (1996-2001); curator of modern and contemporary art at the High Museum, Atlanta (1987-1995); curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1979-1987) and a fellow at the Walker Art Center (1978-79) Krane has organized over 60 exhibitions and authored numerous publications, and is particularly interested in contextual, cross-disciplinary approaches to contemporary art.

Exhibition Tour Dates:

  • Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, March 9 – April 21, 2002
  • Chicago Cultural Center, May 4 – June 30, 2002
  • The CU Art Galleries at Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, September 5 – November 2, 2002
  • The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, November 22, 2002 – January 12, 2003
  • Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, February 8 – May 11, 2003

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Friday, 12-4pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4pm. There is no admission charge. For further information please call the SDMA at 845/257-3844 or visit them online at www.newpaltz.edu/museum.

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Editors: Images from the exhibition Lesley Dill: A Ten Year Survey are available at www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/dill.html. Images are provided in both JPEG and TIFF files, at 72 dpi and 300 dpi, respectively. Exhibition curator Nadine Wasserman is available for interview: please contact David Cavallaro at 845-257-3872 or by e-mail: cavallad@newpaltz.edu.