Leslie Hewitt Exhibition at Power Plant
|Born||1977 (age 39–40)
Saint Albans, New York, United States
New York University
|Alma mater||Yale University|
Leslie Hewitt (born 1977) is a contemporary visual artist and currently resides in New York City.
Leslie Hewitt was born in 1977 in Saint Albans, New York. Hewitt received a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union's School of Art in 2000 and later received an M.F.A. from Yale University in 2004. She studied Africana Studies and Cultural Studies at New York University from 2001 to 2003. Hewitt has held residencies at the Core Program at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Hewitt explores political, social, and personal narratives through photography, sculpture, and site-specific installations. Her work varies in scale from small compositions to billboard sized photographs which rest in wooden frames that lean against the wall and invite viewers to experience a space that rests between sculpture and traditional photography. She references notions of non-linear perspective and double consciousness through arrangements of objects from popular culture and personal ephemera. She is interested in how much we rely on images to provide memories of personal experience, how collective memory of past events is shaped and preserved, and in how the two overlap, coexist, and inform each other. Hewitt draws much of her material from black popular culture of the 1970s and ’80s. Items such as VHS tapes of black cinema, graffitied documents, and books by Alex Haley and Eldridge Cleaver often appear in her photographs or reside within her installations.
Hewitt has an extensive residency and exhibition history. In 2007 she spent a significant amount of time in Houston participating in the Core Program and served as the Project Row Houses/ Core Fellow from 2006-07. Hewitt participated in the 2008 Whitney Biennial with her piece Make it Plain and received a 2008 Art Matters research grant to travel to the Netherlands to research Dutch still-life paintings created during the period of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade at the Rijksmuseum in Holland. From 2009-10 Hewitt was the Mildred Londa Weisman fellow as part of the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard University. During her fellowship Hewitt examined the origins of the camera obscura and used the camera as a tool to explore cultural memory through the construction of temporary still lifes. By repeatedly composing and photographing her arrangements she captured changes in daylight, gravity, and perception.
She was the recipient of the Guna S. Mundheim Berlin Prize in the Visual Arts and Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin for Spring 2012. In the fall of 2012 a solo exhibition of her work, Leslie Hewitt: Sudden Glare of the Sun, was presented at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Hewitt was the 2014 USA Artists Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Fellow in Visual Arts. Her work is in the public collection at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, among others. In 2016, her work was included in Photo-Poetics: An Anthology at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. Leslie Hewitt: Collective Stance, a solo exhibition with collaborative works made with cinematographer Bradford Young, was presented at Sculpture Center in Queens NY in 2016.
Hewitt is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co a contemporary art gallery located at 530 West 22nd Street in the West Chelsea arts district in New York City.
Riffs on Real Time
Hewitt's recent exhibition featured a collection of 10 highly stylized photographs by the same name in a sleek installation, Unfitted, 2011. Described as "postmodern takes on the still life", Riffs on Real Time is an exploration of how the juxtaposition of different materials can comprise a cultural identity. Created from 2002-2009, a primary image, usually culled from the American media and sociopolitical in bent, is centrally placed on a larger book, photo, or other document so that the image appears framed; in turn, this arrangement is photographed laid out on a hardwood or carpeted floor, which adds yet another frame. Also riffing on the premise of "same but different" was the photo installation Unfitted, in which a large starch-white slab was propped against the wall, scaled to the dimensions of the gallery's doorway. Here, Hewitt's iconography and conceptual choices echoed her previous work, as she insinuated this particular offering into the material legacies of the 1960s and 1970s.This exhibition confirms Hewitt's rightful place among a generation of artists confronting the historical legacies of the 1960s through an amalgamation of artistic strategies that test the premises of photography. It also raises the perplexing issue of what happens when formerly radical strategies have been tamed and naturalized into a generational style.
This exhibition is a collaboration with cinematographer Bradford Young and producer Karen Chien. Untitled is a series of short silent film vignettes created in 2012. The films are footage from 2010 - 2012 of locations where iconic civil rights photographs were taken in the 1950's and 1960's in Chicago, Memphis, and parts of Arkansas, which were all palpably transformed by the Great Migration. The works are 35mm film transferred to HD video, dual-channel video installation. In an Artforum interview, Hewitt says of the dual-channel video projection: "You can decide to look at one or the other, but your eyes have to contend with both."
In 2013, Hewitt released a series of photographs that were displayed within pristine, tilted maple box-frames, that brings into focus the morphing of images in a studio into object-like artworks shown in a gallery. In Untided (Perception), 2013, the block of maple that rests atop a stack of three books, the only identifiable one being an influential collection of James Baldwin's essays, matches the work's wooden frame (which acts more like a cradle than like a traditional picture frame). A particularly placed lemon with a wedge removed nods to Dutch vanitas paintings, yet the effect achieved is perhaps one of another art-historical moment, an ethos of Mannerism-evidenced in the work's defiance of how a photograph should act. Also in repose nearby was an untitled work comprising two free-floating walls leaning against the gallery architecture. Sculpturally akin to a clunky John McCracken or a slightly tipsy column by Anne Truitt, these ersatz Minimalist objects are in fact made of drywall and wood and were modeled on the texture and size of the gallery walls. They assert a content-free physicality that surprisingly harmonized with the rest of the exhibition's pictorial and physical material. Hewitt's strength in melding content, execution, and presentation was obvious throughout the exhibition; uniting her keen sense of image making with efforts to draw attention to the constructed spaces that surround us, this exhibition pointed in a generative new direction.
- Dominic,, Molon,; Johanna,, Burton,; Esperanza,, Rosales,; Lisa,, Melandri,; Samantha,, Topol,; Louis,, Contemporary Art Museum St. Leslie Hewitt : sudden glare of the sun. ISBN 9780977752898. OCLC 845516508.
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