American, b. 1977
Lives and works in Los Angeles, California
A modern-day alchemist, Leslie Shows uses bold experimentation with materials and forms to challenge and expand notions of contemporary painting. Shows grew up in Juneau, Alaska, where “glaciers, calcified mining ruins, and rainy, rebar-strewn lots were my playgrounds,” she recalls. An avid reader, researcher, and thinker, Shows plans her works for a long time before realizing them; each is the result of what she calls a sort of “brain frenzy.” Once she has her compositions in mind, she prepares many of her materials before combining them in strange and surprising ways. She “grows” her own salt and rust; brushes acrylic paint onto Plexiglas and then peels it off in skins; and culls images from magazines and the web. The results are synthetic, symbolically potent assemblages that hold both micro- and macro lenses onto ancient lands ravaged by short-term occupants.
Shows’ work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Oakland Museum of California; San Francisco Art Institute ; CA; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ; Cornell Art Museum, Delray Beach, FL; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Salina Art Center, Salina, KS; and the Nelson Gallery at the University of California, Davis. She has been the recipient of an Artadia Award (2009), SFMOMA SECA Award (2006), and Tournesol Award (2006) from the Headlands Center for the Arts. She completed a residency at the Bemis Center for the Arts in Omaha, NE (2011) and an Artadia New York Residency (2012).
In 2017, Shows was commissioned to create a large-scale public artwork for the new Yerba Buena/Moscone Station in San Francisco, slated to open in 2018.