Inside the mind of Lesley Vance

Exploring the creative processes of artists featured in Vitamin P2

Who are you?

A painter living in Los Angeles who is happy to be from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.     

What’s on your mind right now?   

Picabia. The Green Bay Packers football game on today. The empty studio I have waiting for me tomorrow morning because I just shipped my recent paintings last week. And thinking about starting this winter’s first fire in the fireplace when I finish answering these questions because today it is cold and raining in the canyon.  

Lesley Vance, <em>Untitled (15)</em> (2009)

Lesley Vance, Untitled (15) (2009) courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

How do you get this stuff out?

Getting it out is not easy - the way I work sends me around in circles all day.  I am constantly disguising and adding information, masking figuration, and opening and closing spaces in the canvas until the composition behaves in a way that challenges the paintings hanging on the wall next to it. Due to the drying time of my medium, most paintings are made in an extended day, and sometimes I can keep working on them the next day.  But my brain and the paint are fighting the clock, as I want to move the paint around in its most fluid state. 

How does it fit together?

I don’t know how it fits together, that’s what makes a painting work for me. If I know how it fits together that means it’s too predictable. I just know I can’t leave the studio and go home until it does fit together! 

Lesley Vance, <em>Untitled (29)</em> (2010)

Lesley Vance, Untitled (29) (2010) courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

What brought you to this point?

The mystery to me is how in the end a painting asserts itself with total confidence despite what it goes through to get there. Throughout the course of making a painting there are times when I am in complete control, but just as often I have no clue what I am doing and I just mess around on the canvas. But always there is the back and forth between these poles.   

Can you control it?

Not really. There is a great Franz Kline quote that Philip Guston talks about in a lecture that sums the whole thing up for me: “You know, painting is like hands stuck in a mattress.”

Lesley Vance, <em>Untitled (30)</em> (2010)

Lesley Vance, Untitled (30) (2010) courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

What’s next?

I never know, but I am always waiting for my work to surprise me, and so the paintings are getting weirder. The compositions are emptying out and the colours are changing and getting more saturated.   I have started framing them, hand-painting simple wood milled frames in white oil enamel, emphasising and somehow complicating the objectness of the work. 

Lesley Vance is featured in Vitamin P2. Her next exhibition is at the Xavier Hufkens Gallery in Brussels, Belgium in June 2012

Get inside the mind of more artists from Vitamin P2 here:

Inside the mind of Stephen Bush 
Inside the mind of Glenn Sorensen
Inside the mind of Serban Savu
Inside the mind of Xylor Jane
Inside the mind of Ellen Altfest
Inside the mind of Antonio Ballester Moreno
Inside the mind of Milena Dragicevic
Inside the mind of Li Shurui

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