The A-List

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

From Altered Esthetics regarding the Bitter Fruits Exhibition:

Way to go, Bitter Fruits Artists - you made the A-List! For those of you not of the Twin Cities, the A-List is a local weekly paper's list of "hottest items" for the upcoming week and this week - you're it!

City Pages, Minneapolis, MN, January 29th, 2008
Bitter Fruits
By Jessica Armbruster

To see how women, or at least the concept of femininity, has inspired artists throughout the years, one simply needs to peruse the art history section of Barnes & Noble. Women have been muses and objects of scorn, idealized and torn down. Images of women in artwork, as well as our interpretations and reactions to that artwork, can tell us many things about our society, history, and the masculine gaze. Taking this shared history into account, "Bitter Fruits" features work that explores these artistic boundaries. The group show features works by 80 artists, both male and female, including paintings, sculpture, photography, and performance art. Some are playful, and a little mocking, like Courtney Conk's An Invitation to a Tea Party; a woman is photographed drinking tea while sitting next to a plastic kitchenette (the type little girls play house with). Michelle Brusegaard's oil and marker works on canvas pay homage to Fashion Plates, a children's toy from the 1980s that features interchangeable clothing plates used to create rubbings to be colored in. Her images are brightly colored, faceless outlines wearing clothes that have been colored to match the blue floral background wallpaper. Martyna Matusiak's unsettling photography features women shoved into kitchen sinks, cabinets, and drawers, their empty eyes and haphazard limbs thrown casually about like dead bodies. Well, if we're going to be gazed upon, we might as well be thought-provoking. Opening reception 7:00 p.m. Friday, February 1.

Bitter Fruits Exhibition

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bitter Fruits
A study of woman's role as object in art
At Altered Esthetics

Please join us for the opening reception
Friday February 1, 7pm - 10pm.

The history of art has largely been written by works that resulted from and served to perpetuate the male gaze. These works tell us a great deal about the roles women have played in art and society, and also about how women are viewed today. Altered Esthetic's February exhibition, Bitter Fruit, will examine how contemporary artists--both male and female--deal with this shared history, and where it has left us. We hope to illuminate the issue through a selection of work that comments not only upon this history, but upon the possibility of a future located outside the conventional narrative history of art.
The Bitter Fruits exhibit will feature sculpture, painting, photography, and performance art from over 80 artists.

Show Runs: January 31 - February 28, 2008 at:
Altered Esthetics Gallery,
1224 Quincy Street NE
Minneapolis MN 55413

Image features: "Nude" by Leslie Pearson, 24"x 36", Charcoal on paper, 1998

See the on-line show

Premiere Party Photos

Friday, January 25, 2008

Last night's Premiere Party was awesome!! The food catered by New Deli was great, I couldn't have asked for anything better! I want to say Thank You to everyone involved in making this event a success. Gallery 208 was packed out the whole night and everyone responded to the artwork with positive comments. I have to admit that I am a bit shy by nature so even being at my own art showings puts me a little out of my comfort zone. I actually broke out into a cold sweat when I was asked to speak about my work. Luckily I was able to spit something out that I think made sense. Anyway, enjoy the time lapse video that my husband Justin put together and the still photos he took of the evening. The exhibition will continue until April 13th.

Click here to see a Slideshow of the still photos

Or View the Time Lapse Video (9 seconds)

Gallery 208, Premiere Party

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This is a personal invitation to everyone I know to please come out and see the exhibition and enjoy some free food and wine!!

Up and Coming Weekly, Gallery 208, news article

Monday, January 21, 2008

Up and Coming Weekly, January 16-22, 2008

The finished piece...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My wooden wings are finally finished! I am so happy to have the installation complete. As it turns out, even though the wings are finished, I decided against showing them in my "Wingspan" exhibition at Gallery 208 because they need to be shown in an open area so they can be viewed from any angle. For now, they are on display at the Pearson Gallery. I have been torn on what to call this piece. At first I thought to call it "Wings to Fly By", then I considered "Ode to Icarus", but I finally went with "Wings". Simple. I want to make it clear to everyone that these are birds wings, not Angel wings. As of late, I have been fascinated with birds and often use the imagery as a metaphor for freedom and femininity.

Now, on to an explanation as to "why" I wanted to create this piece (I've received a few emails with this question). As an artist I am constantly inspired to create. I can be inspired by nearly anything and I am influenced by everything that happens to me in my everyday routine of life. I am often driven to try out things because of my natural curiosity to see if it can be done, and if it can be, then how. I love to make things and if I'm not doing something productive I feel bored and somewhat lost.

During the Thanksgiving holiday that I spent with family, my sister-in-law Jenn said in passing, "you should create your own life-size set of wings." To which I said, "that would be a lot of work." By the end of the day we were on-line searching for images of birds wings and discussing the possibilities. I decided to undertake the project as soon as I got back to my studio. I can't explain the satisfaction I feel at knowing that I created something tangible that people can see and touch, from nothing more than an abstract idea that popped into my head. Sometimes when a project is finished I'll say to my husband, "see, that's what I was talking about," when referring to one of my "what if...." moments.

I also want to point out that I found nearly everything to make this project. I was on a walk in my neighborhood when I found the frame under a pile of old suitcases setting curbside. I was given the belt for free. I found the metal stand outside by the dumpsters behind a hiking store. The stirrup straps, which are used and nicely broken in, were a steal on consignment at the horse tack shop near my house. I used one 8" x 4" sheet of birch wood, which cost $15. I went through two woodburning tools and several cans of spray paint. There was a lot of trial and error. I had to redo a couple of things, some things went as planned and other things failed, but overall I think they are amazing and the photos don't do them justice. I have ordered a photo book from to go in the book holder attached to the metal stand. I plan to do a mask to go along with this too...but not until I finish a couple of other art projects that are floating around in my mind. Enjoy the slideshow link below.

See more photos of "Wings" being made.

The Hook Up

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I want to give a big shout out to Coach Brown, one of the coaches at Poplar Bluff Senior High School, who donated the perfect weightlifting belt for my "wings" project. I have been searching high and low for a used belt in a dark brown color and he found one for me. As you can see from the photos, the belt is a perfect match in color with the stirrup straps I'm using. I'm a '94 graduate of P.B. Senior High....Go Mules!!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I was actually a little surprised to see that these wings measure out to be 100 inches exactly, from tip to tip. They are also much heavier than I expected them to be, but still fun to put on...for about a minute.


Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm finally finished with the burning and the varnishing! Yesterday I began assembling all the pieces and realized that I needed to burn and varnish the "back" sides of the floating pieces...which took an entire day to do but was worth it. Now, no matter what angle you view the piece, it looks great. I always say, "Craftsmanship is equal to creativity".

My New Book

Friday, January 11, 2008

I am very pleased to announce the release of my new book, Off the Diving Board, the Narrative Paintings of Leslie Pearson.

Buy it Now!

Read what's being said:

– Fayetteville artist Leslie Pearson has published a new book featuring a collection of her narrative paintings. The book was made possible through a Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts Council of North Carolina.

Off the Diving Board, The Narrative Paintings of Leslie Pearson is the most comprehensive collection of Pearson’s work ever published. Its pages contain excellent reproductions of the artist’s most important and most recently finished paintings, along with numerous beautiful photographs, which offer a personal insight into the depth of Pearson’s creative process.

This 146-page, full-color book takes readers through the seasons of Pearson’s narrative work with never before seen notes and excerpts from the artist’s journals. These include project descriptions and accompanying texts, which are an integral part of her inspiration.

Dr. Susannah Eckersley, Ph.D. comments, “One theme which runs through the entire book is that of identity -– in relation to family, work, religion, and the physical and emotional self; and of coming to terms with one’s personal identity in the midst of all the changes which time brings.”

“While many of the artworks shown in this book tell stories of a deeply personal nature, Leslie manages to successfully engage the viewer through the allure of captivating images and words, which resonate on a much more universal human level. Whether or not we share the same religious beliefs, have dealt with the same blows, or have found love and confidence, we can all find a mirror for some aspect of ourselves, for our emotions and our hopes in Leslie’s art.”

Leslie Pearson’s paintings and mixed media works have been exhibited in the United States and abroad in numerous solo and group exhibitions. She lives in North Carolina. Her work can be seen on-line at:

Late night

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sometimes I just can't pull myself away from the studio. I'm really into this wings project ...which I have decided will be called "Wings To Fly By". Anyway, I was all ready to go to bed last night when I went out in my robe to do "one more little thing", which is code for "I may be awhile". Luckily, my hubby is supportive and only rolls his eyes and laughs.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I can't give it all away yet, but here is a little hint of how the wings look "on".

New Project, moving right along

This weekend was pretty successful in regards to my "wings". Several things came together and it is moving right along. I stopped into a horse tack shop near my house on Saturday and found a cool pair of second hand stirrup straps, which turned out to be exactly what I was looking for to use as shoulder straps for the ruck sack. I was also able to mount and stain the wings as well as spray paint the frame. That was a project in itself. The first spray I did came off just by rubbing it. I had to sand it all off and try again, this time with something more suited for metal and with a "hammered" look. I'm really pushing to get these wings done for my solo exhibition at Gallery 208, at the Up & Coming Weekly Magazine offices on Rowan Street, downtown Fayetteville. The show opens with a premier party on the 24th. I think the wings would make an awesome installation.

Campbell House Galleries, Opening Night

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Last night's opening reception at the Campbell House Galleries was a huge success! I had a great time getting to know the Southern Pines art crowd. There was a wonderful turnout and the red dots started popping up (signals of sold art), which is always a good feeling. I was thrilled with the article in the Pilot, which was a full-page spread on the front of the arts section. It was by far the best gallery reception that I've had. Thank you to everyone involved!

Why "Passing Strange and Wonderful"?

Friday, January 4, 2008

I decided to call my solo exhibition at the Campbell House Galleries "Passing Strange and Wonderful" after a book of the same title by Yi-Fu Tuan that I read in college nearly 10 years ago. The book discusses the relationship between aesthetics, nature, and culture.

Tuan explains the aesthetic to be the “senses come to life”. It can be a mood, a feeling, or an emotion. Aesthetic competence is acquired over time with practice. He believes that one must psychologically distance themselves from the object or situation at hand to experience it aesthetically. Without this necessary distancing, it becomes difficult to examine, compare, or analyze it with an exploratory frame of mind. Tuan views the aesthetic as an experience of understanding. It’s not the same as an ordinary experience because certain qualities come to the front. Qualities such as a feeling of safety or security, or even a sense of realization generally accompany an aesthetic experience. Aesthetic experiences are conscious experiences because it takes the ability to relatively objectify or focus on what’s taking place. If one pays attention, they can pick up on the differences, or ranges, of aesthetics and then begin to evaluate it more clearly.

Aesthetics is an enhanced perception of the physical environment. “Yet the pervasive role of the aesthetic is suggested by its root meaning of “feeling”--not just any kind of feeling, but “shaped ”feeling and sensitive perception. And it is suggested even more by its opposite, anesthetic, “lack of feeling--the condition of living death. The more attuned we are to the beauties of the world, the more we come to life and take joy in it”. In a sense, we make our own world by either choosing to appreciate or take for granted the beauty of our experiences. Tuan sees beauty as being at the opposite end of confusion. As being form, balance, and organization. As if imposing order on chaos.

Just as much aesthetic is in nature as it is culture. Culture is a product of human act. It’s whatever we contribute to the world or the world of relationships. When we become more aware and familiar with our senses, our world changes. Each person has built a world of their own experiences using the senses within the boundaries of consciousness, and their mind, as a set of filters. Appreciation of the sensory dimension can’t be fully appreciated without having intellectual filtering applied to it.

Tuan writes, “The level of consciousness, then, is an indication of that which distinguishes not only between nature and culture but also between culture and the aesthetic”. Any cultural activity can be aesthetic activity. Whether the experience be good or bad. As long as pauses for appraisal and appreciation occur, it becomes aesthetic. Again, distancing is the key. “Culture is a physical process that changes nature”. Culture is perception, speech, and culture is performance. We all, in a sense, put on a show for society.

Tuan explains that whenever the distinction between nature and culture is recognized, “the biological, the raw, and the instinctive, the unconscious and the primordial are attributed to nature; and form and order, consciousness and deliberation the developed and achieved ideal are attributed to culture”. Our culture teaches us to do things in a certain manor, and culture trains us to appreciate what is considered to be beauty.

We have the capacity to enrich our experiences through resonance; associating the experiences with other things, memories and values. We can see objects, persons, and events as having a meaning that goes beyond the obvious. Our capacity for metaphorical perception and thought can deepen the meaning of an experience that might otherwise be shallow and transient.

Whenever I smell smoke from a wood stove or see the fire’s light flickering on a wall across the room, my thoughts go back to the times when I woke up at my grandma’s house. Every morning before sunrise, my grandma loaded up the stove with wood. The only light was the orange glow of the fire’s reflection dancing on the bedroom wall. The crackling of the wood chips, the squeak of the stove door, the thud that the log made as it hit the back of the stove wall, the smell of smoke, the feel of the crisp air on my cheeks and nose were all sensations that made me aware of my surroundings. I distinctly remember a warm coziness coming from underneath quilts that smelled like my grandma--not dryer sheets or fabric softeners, but my grandma. It was her own sweet familiar scent. Mornings like these were typical. I woke up for school everyday like that. I experienced it with all of my senses, yet I failed to really appreciate it until now because at that age, it was the only thing that I knew. At that time, my whole “culture” was the country life,slow and easy. It never occurred to me that those sights, sounds, and smells could have had aesthetic qualities. People go through life day-by-day becoming more aware of their sensory modalities. We go through life and our days are filled with rich aesthetic experiences, yet we usually fail to savor them because we fall into a ritualistic routine that, in a way, numbs our senses. Everyone must learn to be keener, more responsive and respective of their experiences. Once this happens, life becomes truly enjoyable.

The Pilot, news article

Thursday, January 3, 2008

'Passing Strange and Wonderful': Campbell House Features Paintings by Leslie Pearson


Fayetteville artist, Leslie Pearson, will open a new exhibition of paintings at the Campbell House Galleries in January.

A reception to meet the artist will be held Friday, Jan. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. Friends of the artist host the reception, which is free and open to the public. The exhibit is on display through Jan. 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays, and from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20. The galleries will be closed Jan. 21 in observance of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. The Campbell House Galleries are located at 482 East Connecticut Avenue, Southern Pines.

"Passing Strange and Wonderful," Pearson's first solo exhibition in Southern Pines, will feature several new landscape paintings in which she incorporates some unusual materials such as sand, sugar, paper, and plaster to create interesting textural properties.

Pearson's work represents a wide range of subject matter and style. Working primarily in oil and acrylic paint, she explores various avenues of interest including realism, texture, words and nonobjective imagery which she uses as a parallax for ideas, patterns, and emotions.

"Passing Strange and Wonderful" illustrate isolated instances, moments in time, and places that represent significant points of realization for Pearson. Through the landscapes, Pearson recreates meditative environments that suggest the loneliness of solitude and peaceful reflection.

"These paintings are like excerpts from my memory journal," says Pearson. "They are places I've been throughout various stages of my life which have made an impression one me in a way that made me want to recapture, recreate, and essentially relive the experience. Like everyone, I have a need to connect with other people, and I do it best through painting."

Among the pieces in the exhibition is "Hadrian's Wall," a large-scale painting in five vertical panels that captures her personal experience at a historical stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of Great Britain. (See Photo).

Pearson is a professional artist based in Fayetteville. A Missouri native, Pearson earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Southeast Missouri State University and was heavily involved in community arts programming as the assistant director of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. She moved to England in 2000 where she earned a master's degree in museum studies at the University of Newcastle.

Upon returning to the states, Pearson joined the Army as a photojournalist for a military intelligence unit and freelanced as an arts and entertainment journalist for the Augusta Chronicle, a daily newspaper in Augusta, Ga.

Pearson received a 2006-2007 Regional Artist Project Grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. She now works from her studio, operates the Pearson Gallery, and teaches art at Fayetteville Christian School.

Other examples of Pearson's work can be viewed at

For more information about the January exhibit, contact the Arts Council of Moore County at 692-4356 or visit the Web site at

Campbell House Galleries, the Drop-Off

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Today I dropped off 23 paintings (mostly landscape) at the Campbell House Galleries in Southern Pines, NC. This solo exhibition, Passing Strange and Wonderful, will open Friday night (Jan. 4) from 6-8 pm. There will be lots of food and drink so all you locals come out and say hi...and buy a painting or two.

The building itself is very pretty and is set back among some Live Oaks (excuse our truck and trailer in the way of the view). As I was bringing in my work, a fiber artist was taking down her work from last month's show, which from what I heard, was very successful in terms of sales.