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.
Leslie Shows’ work has been exhibited at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; the Oakland Museum of California; the Salina Art Center, Salina, KS; the Nelson Gallery at the University of California, Davis; and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA. 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. Shows’ work was included in the 8th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2011). She completed a residency at the Bemis Center for the Arts in Omaha, NE (2011) and an Artadia New York Residency (2012). Shows’ most recent solo exhibitions include Surfacing at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ (2014) and the Clive Painting Exhibition at Walter and McBean Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute (2015).