Lesley Dill: Beautiful Dirt – Ballgowns of Lightness & Dark

Exhibition Dates: October 4 – October 25, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 4 from 6–9 pm, in conjunction with Art for Arts’ Sake
Gallery Location: 432 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am–5 pm
Contact Info: 504.522.1999; www.arthurrogergallery.com

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present Beautiful Dirt: Ballgowns of Lightness & Dark, an exhibition of sculpture by Lesley Dill. The exhibition will be on view at Arthur Roger Gallery, located at 432 Julia Street, from October 4 – October 25, 2014. The gallery will host an opening reception, with the artist in attendance, on Saturday, October 4 from 6-9 pm in conjunction with Art for Arts’ Sake.

Whitebird Gown for Charles Dickens, 2014. Metal, organza, glue, paint and foam on armature. 63 x 84 x 63 inches.

Whitebird Gown for Charles Dickens, 2014. Metal, organza, glue, paint and foam on armature. 63 x 84 x 63 inches.

Beautiful Dirt: Ballgowns of Lightness and Dark is Lesley Dill’s ninth exhibition with the gallery and was inspired by the ballroom culture of New Orleans and the adornment of the body. Featured are nine gowned figures centered by a cascading chandelier. The figures range in size from a tabletop sculpture to 7 feet tall, and are constructed of billowing fabric adorned with embroidered letters, flowing skirts of hand-cut copper, or hundreds of pieces of metal foil and feathers. Some of the figures have dramatic head embellishments or collars and others are donned with small, bird-like heads, paying homage to surrealist Max Ernst.

Themes of contradiction and complexity, good and evil have been engaged in the artist’s large-scale installations for more than a decade. This exhibition invites a more intimate experience to the viewer by focusing on the individual personas of the sculptures, which range metaphorically from Ecstasy to Thoughtfulness to Lust and Wildness.

Dill is deeply interested in language, faith and spirituality. Drawing inspiration from the words of poets and authors, such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whiteman, and John Milton, her desire is to cover a large inclusive range of austere and intense emotion.

Lesley Dill was born in Bronxville, New York in 1950 and grew up in Maine. After graduating from Trinity College in 1972 she completed an M.A. at Smith College in 1974 and received an M.F.A. in 1980 from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work can be found in many collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art. Her exhibit “I Heard A Voice: The Art of Lesley Dill,” organized by the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN is currently traveling to Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL; Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University, University Park, PA; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR; and Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.