David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to announce 12 Paintings, an exhibition of new work by Lesley Vance. The show will open on May 19 and remain on view through July 1, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Friday, May 19 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm.

For Lesley Vance, each painting becomes a means to discover and develop an invented image that, in the end, has the presence of fact. Rather than analyzing an existing object or scene and extrapolating into realms of pure form, Vance transforms improvised marks into pictorial, sculptural-seeming bodies. Something that occurs quickly, without premeditation, is patiently given the opportunity to solidify as a complete idea, a process that 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.


For this exhibition Vance will present twelve new paintings that share the same dimensions and vertical format, allowing for a particularly nuanced experience of their interior shapes and bold, primary hues. Several of the paintings are characterized by the presence of swirling dark passages that snake through and around other forms. An expanded emotional range comes through in these new works: Vance’s virtuoso command of paint has begun to communicate not only enigmatic grace, but also curious humor, especially when she plays with the viewer’s experience of space and depth, weaving together foreground and background as if they were overlapping layers in a collage.

In a similar manner, Vance’s work taps seemingly incongruous veins of modernism. Her focus on the relationship between paint, physicality, and perception draws from a tradition that includes the alert mood and dense spatial architecture associated with an artist like L├ęger as well as the lyrical expressionism of late de Kooning or the serpentine lines of Hilma af Klint. At the same time the uncanny luminosity and familiar, if unidentifiable, pictorial nature of her imagery have a decidedly surreal flavor; combined with the precision of her surfaces, this also opens a surprising line of communication with graphic cues ordinarily associated with artists like Konrad Klaphek and Christina Ramberg, whose painted subjects often exist in states of transformation.

Ultimately however, despite a shared grammar, each painting is an independent entity with its own inwardly turned set of references and questions, all of which become less knowable and more unpredictable the longer they are observed. Such tension between the known and the unknown drives both the making of the work and the states of looking it engenders, providing an analogue for the paradoxical action of experience, which reveals a world that only gets stranger the longer one lives in it. By synthesizing extremes of immediacy and meditative distance, and by rendering the ephemeral movements of abstraction through techniques usually reserved for figurative subjects, Vance depicts reality in the act of making itself seen, before it has had the chance to conform to expectations.

Lesley Vance (b. 1977, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the FLAG Art Foundation, New York; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin, Maine; and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California (with Ricky Swallow). Recent group exhibitions include The Campaign for Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016); Don’t Shoot the Painter. Paintings from UBS Art Collection, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2015); Variations: Conversations in and Around Abstract Paintings, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014); Painter Painter, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2013); A House of Leaves. Second Movement, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2012); and Difference, Dallas Museum of Art (2012). Her paintings are featured in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; among many others. Vance lives and works in Los Angeles.

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