Lesley Dill is an American artist working at the intersection of language and fine art. Exploring the power of words to cloak and reveal the psyche, Dill invests new meaning in the human form. Fluid metaphors, appropriated from the poetry and writings of Emily Dickinson, Salvador Espriu, Tom Sleigh, Franz Kafka, and Rainer Maria Rilke, connect the diverse media that Dill employs. Paper, wire, horsehair, photography, foil, bronze, and music comprise elements through which the artist conveys the complexities of communication. Dill challenges the viewer to confront our linguistic relationships as well as perceptions of language itself.
Born and raised in Maine, Dill received her Master of Arts from Smith College in 1974, and her Master of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art in 1980. She soon emerged as a sculptor and multi-media artist. Her interest in language and allusions to strong feminine identity reflect her friendship with the late artist, Nancy Spero (1926 – 2009), who used text and depictions of the female form, often appropriated as classical goddesses, in her scroll paintings.
She has received a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship in addition to the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and Anonymous Was A Woman, among others. Dill conceived and directed an opera, Divide Light, based on the poems of Emily Dickinson that premiered in at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA in 2008. In April, 2018, the New Camerata Opera Company will perform Divide Light in New York City.
Dill’s artworks are in the collections of over fifty museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.