Lesley Vance paintings at Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) presents Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Lesley Vance paintings in Lesley Vance: always circled whirling, an exhibition opened on view April 21 and running through September 3, 2023. The exhibition of 27 paintings will showcase Vance’s engaging style of fluid abstraction and marks the artist’s first solo exhibition at a public institution.

Experimenting with movement and depth, Vance’s abstractions are filled with light and shadow, resulting in swirling, interwoven forms that both delight and disorient the eye. Each Lesley Vance paintings becomes a means to discover an invented image that, in the end, has the presence of fact. Through quick gestures, hard contours and ribbons of color, Vance’s scenes take on a three-dimensional effect with allusions to surrealism and abstract expressionism.

The artist has said “I…think about uniting opposing forces within a painting: making something that’s planar but has volume, or has passages that convey speed and chaos while others are slow and considered. There is something that happens in this collision of opposite things.”

Using a process of addition and erasure, Vance often finds inspiration from the physical world, such as a glazed ceramic surface, an arrangement of objects or another painting. Her practice transforms these images into distant, but traceable recollections as her paintings take on a life of their own, hinting to the mind’s capacity to mold memories from moment to moment.

CMA holds a celebrated collection of American modernist painting, featuring artists Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe, among others. The Museum has offered these works as a point of departure for Vance’s exhibition, revealing the affinities between her practice and theirs.

The exhibition will present Lesley Vance paintings created since 2012, including three newly commissioned works that are directly inspired by the Museum’s collection, transforming the echoes of familiar modernist works into something new, unstable and strangely beguiling.

Lesley Vance: always circled whirling is organized by Columbus Museum of Art and curated by Tyler Cann, senior curator of modern and contemporary art at Honolulu Museum of Art and CMA’s former director of exhibitions and Pizzuti family curator of contemporary art. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, forthcoming this fall.

“If you were to think about a shape for the history of modern and contemporary painting—always moving forward, doubling back, branching off and turning inward—it might look a bit like one of Lesley Vance’s paintings,” Cann said. “Given the Columbus Museum of Art’s phenomenal collection of early 20th century American modernism and Vance’s longstanding engagement with this history, it is very exciting to see what that conversation looks like here.” 


Admission to CMA is$18 for adults; $9 for seniors (60+), students (18+) and children (4-17); and free for members and children 3 and under. Special exhibition admission to Lesley Vance: always circled whirling is an additional $8 (also includes admission toWendy Red Star: A Scratch on the Earth).

On Thursdays from 5-9 p.m., general admission and admission to the special exhibition are $5 each. General admission is free for all on Sundays.

Members always receive free admission to special exhibitions.

About the Artist

Lesley Vance (b. 1977, Milwaukee) has been the subject of solo and two-person exhibitions at FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2012); Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin, Maine (2012); and Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California (with Ricky Swallow, 2012). Vance’s work is currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. and Mu.ZEE in Oostende, Belgium.

Vance lives and works in Los Angeles.

About Columbus Museum of Art  

CMA is where creativity and the daily life of its community intersect and thrive, as the Museum champions new and different ways of thinking and doing. CMA celebrates the creative process and sets the stage for people to experience art, ideas and relationships that spark creativity and nurture collective, courageous imagination.

CMA’s collection includes outstanding late 19th- and early 20th-century American and European modern works of art, grounded in the Ferdinand Howald and the Howard D. and Babette L. Sirak Collections. The Museum houses the world’s largest collections of works by beloved Columbus-connected artists Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Elijah Pierce and George Bellows and acclaimed collections such as The Photo League and the Philip and Suzanne Schiller Collection of American Social Commentary Art.

The recently established Scantland Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art also continues CMA’s dedication to showcasing the art of our time.

CMA, Schokko Café and the Museum Store are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Thursday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. CMA charges a flat rate of $7 for parking in the Museum’s East Gay lot. CMA members park for free.

Tickets and updates are available at www.columbusmuseum.org and through CMA’s social media channels @columbusmuseum.  

No Comments Yet.