Leslie Hirst
Pavel Zoubok Gallery, 533 W 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
March 20 - April 19, 2008

For her first solo exhibition at Pavel Zoubok Gallery, LESLIE HIRST presents seventeen “landscape paintings” in which four-leaf clovers are suspended between rich layers of paint and resin, alternately replicating the grid-like structures of urban environments and natural growth patterns. Anomalies themselves, the four-leaf clovers in her work are found during the artist’s regimented long-distance runs, an integral part of her process. Subtle, seductive and unexpected, the clover paintings reflect Hirst’s daily navigation of both natural and man-made worlds, investigating the unique substructures of each. They not only record her travels through these environments but also map their systems of order, whether mathematical, scientific or fantastical. Arthur C. Danto observes that “each work is the product of a personal encounter with nature, at a given time, under given circumstances, but transformed into something ‘rich and strange’, to use Shakespeare’s words, so that the personal has become obliterated in the final radiance, like a holy sign.” These mixed-media works project elements of time directed by her observation of human interaction to and within varying layers of existence. Leslie Hirst currently lives and works in Providence, RI and is a professor of art at the Rhode Island School of Design.
REVIEW: RISD Biennial Faculty Exhibition 2009
A Visual Buffet
By GREG COOK | February 25, 2009

Read more: http://thephoenix.com/boston/arts/77226-visual-buffet/#ixzz1HAqILheL

The RISD Museum (224 Benefit Street, Providence), offers work by more than 175 staffers in its "RISD Biennial Faculty Exhibition 2009" (through March 15). It's a giant art buffet, the sort of exhibit designed for sampling.

There are two stars of the show. One is Liz Collins's slinky, knit Sock Monkey Suit. In traditional sock monkey dolls, the red heels of the socks become the monkey's lips and butt. Collins's full-body suit uses the motif at the elbows, knees, and breasts. The result is a combustive mix of child's toy and sex fetish, which Collins plays up by displaying it on a curvy lady mannequin.

The other standout is George Jenne's Tenderfoot, a life-sized sculpture of a naughty child in a Boy Scout uniform. It wears a black furry mask with black pipe horns that suggests a buffalo. A glistening tongue sticks out of a mouth hole and grunting noises emanate from inside. The child's knees and elbows have been skinned bloody. Merit badges feature images of a swastika, middle finger, cigarette, butthole, testicles, a head vomiting. Behind its back, the child holds a wooden fraternity-type paddle saying "be irreverent." And so on. Jenne's craftsmanship is dead-on, though the subject is something of a one-liner. But the effect is both funny and unsettling.

Other highlights include Mary Jane Begin's watercolor and pastel Willow Buds, When Toady Met Ratty, a lush dreamy storybook painting of what looks to be a mole and rat (or perhaps mouse) in a rowboat heading toward a toad standing on a dock upstream. Leslie Hirst's quilt-style painting Four: Square features (apparently real) faded four-leaf clovers laid atop a painted geometric pattern and then sealed in with a shiny bath of clear resin Fred Tomaselli-style. Agnieszka Woznicka presents Birdy, a stop-motion animated film, plus one of its puppets and sets. It's a brief yarn about a flightless bird that collects feathers to make itself working wings. The story is poetic, if somewhat slight, but Woznicka wows with her artistry. Dianne Hoffman's Tricket is a lyrical abstract painting resembling a tangle of blue (with strokes of other colors) tree limbs against a black background. Dean Robinson's small, spare bamboo Snappytable folds flat, like a sort of suitcase, or elegantly opens out to become a little four-legged table.

Still, the overall impression of the show is: Is that all there is? The workmanship is consistently strong, but the work doesn't say much. The school's annual master of fine arts thesis exhibition could give this show a run for its money.
Obsessive Aesthetics
m.a.p.: 8 Market Place, Suite 100, Baltimore, MD 21202
June 12 - July 21, 2007
Friday, June 22: Gallery Talk 6pm / Reception 7pm

Maryland Art Place’s current exhibition, Obsessive Aesthetics, features four artists who employ labor-intensive and meticulous art making methods in the creation of their work. The artist’s perception of the natural world is demonstrated in their subject matter and the near obsessive state reached in creating this highly process-based work. Participating artists include: Larry Bamburg, Dawn Gavin, Leslie Hirst, and Renee van der Stelt.

Larry Bamburg’s kinetic installations incorporate tiny shards of the natural world via string, photographs, lights, and fans. His work examines, and replicates the phenomena of growth and decay, and man’s perception of and place within those cycles. The evocative motion of the swirling installation provokes viewers to interpret what they see, revealing both the object as pure form, as an image, or as neither all at once.

Dawn Gavin works extensively with maps to examine place, geography, and one’s perceptions thereof, through intricate constructions and reassemblages of atlas and map fragments. “My interest in maps belies a long-term preoccupation with boundaries. These zones of demarcation, both real and imagined, constitute the perceived edges of the self and the formation of identity.”

Leslie Hirst searches out the elusive four-leaf clover as the subject matter for her mixed media paintings. Harvested during outside excursions, Hirst considers the act of collecting clovers “a type of documentation of my existence and passage in the environment.” After carefully pressing and categorizing the clovers, she creates drawings and paintings that depict her navigation through the landscape as represented by the placement of these botanical phenomena. Embedded within layers of paint and epoxy resin, the clovers in Hirst’s paintings “reference the dialog between natural and artificial elements inherent in the environment.”

Renee van der Stelt’s work examines the earth, natural systems, galaxies and perceptions of space. Her sculptures and drawings are produced through cutting or repeatedly puncturing the surface of paper with a pin or shaped punch. The punctures represent a topographic perspective of space whose appearance varies according to the direction and points in which light enters. Van der Stelt’s work also explores strategies for mapping three-dimensional space and movements around the globe such as wind, water current and bird migration patterns.