Lesley Dill

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Lesley Dill
Born 1950 (age 64–65)
Bronxville, New York
Nationality American
Education Maryland Institute College of Art, Smith College, Trinity College
Known for Sculpture, Performance, Printmaking, Drawing, Photography

Lesley Dill (born 1950) is an American contemporary artist and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


Dill received a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1972 from Trinity College, a Master for Teaching from Smith College in 1974, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1980.

Artistic career and style[edit]

Dill's style explores the relationships between language, body, emotion and society. Dill has described language as being, "...the touchstone, the pivot point of all my work."[1] Her work crosses traditional boundaries between artistic disciplines and includes printmaking, drawing, sculpture, photography and performance art, often used in tandem with one another.

Her work has been widely exhibited and the subject of numerous solo shows across the United States at both commercial galleries as well as museums such as the Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase, NY), Mississippi Museum of Art (Jackson, MS), Queens Museum of Art and the Dorsky Museum (SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz, NY). Her work can be found in the collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Brooklyn Museum; Cleveland Museum of Art; High Museum (Atlanta, GA); Kemper Museum, Kansas City; Metropolitan Museum of Art; MoMA; Whitney Museum of American Art; and Yale University Art Gallery, among many others.

In 2002-2003, Dill’s first museum retrospective, Lesley Dill: A Ten Year Survey, organized by the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, traveled to the CU Art Galleries, University of Colorado, Boulder; Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago; Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Scottsdale Center for Contemporary Art; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC.

In 2007, “Tremendous World,” an exhibition at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, NY, featured three new large-scale works, two measuring 20 x 65 feet, some of Dill’s largest works to date.

In 2009, a major retrospective, “I Heard A Voice: The Art of Lesley Dill,” was on view at the Hunter Museum of American Art[2] The retrospective was organized by the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN and George Adams Gallery. The show traveled through 2010 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; and Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC.

In 2010, “Hell Hell Hell/Heaven Heaven Heaven: Encountering Sister Gertrude Morgan & Revelation,” was on view at the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, LA. http://arthurrogergallery.com/exhibition/2010-lesley-dill/

In 2012, “Faith & the Devil,” opened at the George Adams Gallery in New York City. The show is currently traveling and has been exhibited at the Fine Arts Center Gallery at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR in 2014, the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, Charleston, WV (2014), and the Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC (2014). The show continues to travel around the United States. http://www.lesleydill.net/faithDevil.html

In October 2014, “Beautiful Dirt" opened at the Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, LA. http://arthurrogergallery.com/exhibition/lesley-dill-5/

Community projects and performances[edit]

In addition to her sculpture and works on paper, Dill is also known for her performance work and public projects. In 2000, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem presented Lesley Dill, Tongues on Fire: Visions and Ecstasy, the artist’s first community-based project which included a performance done in collaboration with the Emmanuel Baptist Church Spiritual Choir.

In 2003, Dill’s performance project I Heard a Voice done in collaboration with Tom Morgan and the Ars Nova Singers was presented at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (Vancouver). It included the world premier of the performance piece I Dismantle.


In 2008, Dill conceived and directed a full-scale opera, “Divide Light,” based on the language of Emily Dickinson. The opera premiered in August 2008 at the Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA.[3] The opera was commissioned by Montalvo Arts Center and was supported in part by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation Multi Arts Production Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. A film of the opera, “Divide Light,” premiered in New York City at the Anthology Film Archives in April 2009. The music for “Divide Light” was done in collaboration with composer Richard Marriott.

Dill and Marriott are currently collaborating on their second major project together, a new opera based on the life and writings of Machiavelli.

Awards and grants[edit]

Dill has been the recipient of awards and grants from such institutions as the Joan Mitchell Foundation,[4] New York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, Anonymous Was A Woman award in 2008,[citation needed]Center for Book Arts Honoree, 2010, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, SGC International Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award, 2013, and the Falk Visiting Artist Residency, University of North Carolina at Greensborrow, 2014-15.


  1. ^ Quoted on the exhibition website at the Hunter Museum of American Art, http://www.smith.edu/artmuseum/exhibitions/dill/
  2. ^ I Heard a Voice: The Art of Lesley Dill, Hunter Museum of American Art, Jan 17th - Apr 19th, 2009, http://www.huntermuseum.org/exhibition/7/i-heard-a-voicethe-art-of-lesley-dill/
  3. ^ Divide Light, Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA., http://montalvoarts.org/programs/divide_light/
  4. ^ The Joan Mitchell Foundation, 1996 Grant Recipient, http://www.joanmitchellfoundation.org/P&S96.html

External links[edit]