It is easy to lose yourself in the fluid abstractions of painter Lesley Vance (born 1977). With quick gestures and hard contours, the Los Angeles-based artist creates swirling, interwoven forms that both delight and disorient the eye. Sometimes these spatial conundrums begin with something real in the world: an arrangement of objects, a glazed ceramic surface, or even another painting. Through Vance’s process of addition and erasure, these touchstones become distant but traceable memories, as her paintings emerge as their own indelible things in the world.
Presenting Vance’s first solo exhibition in a public institution, the Columbus Museum of Art has offered up its celebrated collection of American modernist painting as a point of departure for her work. For many years, Vance has found fellow travelers in artists like Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O’Keeffe. With 27 paintings, a few directly inspired by works in CMA’s collection, Vance reveals the affinities between her work and theirs. The echoes of these familiar modernist works rebound in this exhibition, transformed into something new, unstable, and strangely beguiling.