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 Leslie R. Lewis  (1938 - )

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/North Carolina      Known for: abstract, non objective, geometric

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Leslie R Lewis
An example of work by Leslie R. Lewis
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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Born April 30, 1938, Auburn, New York, my primary subjects are geometric abstract and color field landscape paintings in acrylic and oil on canvas, gouache on paper, and color etchings and silk screen prints. My choice of an abstract format was made in art school, out of fascination with the vibratory edge effect of complementary or contrasting colors, and how they energized an otherwise static compositional format.

I was raised in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York, and gained an early interest in art while working at a local museum evenings and weekends to support myself through high school. I entered military service at a time when it was the only employment available, and served for two years in Vicenza, Italy - an ideal location for anyone with an interest in painting and architecture. I spent free time visiting museums in Vicenza, Brescia, Padua, Venice and Verona, and in painting a mural at Casserna Ederle, as well doing set designs and fabrication for occasional ballet and drama performances at the Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza.

After my discharge from the military, I studied painting and printmaking at the University of Illinois-Urbana's School of Art and Design, graduating with a BFA and a lot additional hours in art history. In art school I studied painting under Edward Betts, Douglas Hilson, Glenn Bradshaw and Enrique Castro-Cid, and printmaking under Dennis Rowan and Eugenio Tellez, who taught the single-plate viscosity-difference method of plate inking (he had previously been the studio manager for Stanley Hayter's Atelier 17 in Paris).

Mr. Tellez taught me how to do single-plate color etchings, and was tolerant enough to appreciate my use of a milling machine for multiple plate color engravings. I also earned an MS degree at Ohio State University which, while not contributing to significantly to art, allowed me to follow a line of work (engineering and project management) to support a growing family of two sons.

In terms of influences on my painting, I would say that the greatest were the works of Hans Hofmann, Josef Albers, and Paul Jenkins, all of whose works I admired and strove to not so much to emulate as to equal even in a small way.

For a long period of time I painted very little, in large part due to internal questions about where it was going (making a living made an effective excuse). In recent years I have found that the need to express a sense of joy in living and in the experience of color has forced me start again.

A recent move to Chelsea, MA has provided both the time and impetus to more fully develop my interest in color and space relationships, and I typically turn out 2-3 works a month on canvas, as well as several on paper.

In my paintings, I am trying to establish a sense of enjoyment in a viewer, as a non-verbal conversation using color, shape and spatial relationships - to say here is something not threatening, but to enhance your life and living space. While I presently use rectilinear or square formats, I have never felt tied to that. Many earlier paintings were as groups of shaped canvases articulated by vividly colored stripes, although at the time I was not aware of the work of Frank Stella or Gene Davis. I see myself as carrying an approach they started into another dimension, where three-dimensional space adds to the impact of a flat planar approach.

1968 - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Boston Printmakers
1969 - Student Exhibit, Krannert Art Building, University of Illinois-Urbana
1970 - Illinois State Fair Art Exhibit
1972 - Beloit College, WI
1974 - French Market Exhibit, Columbus, OH
1995 - Daffodil Art Exhibit, New London, NH
2000 - Repository of Abstract Art - Internet
2001 - "SOUND" and "ART IS AGELESS" at the Cambridge Art Association

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