UT Department of Art Announces Summer Exhibitions

Eye On Art  |  05/16/2018 9:00 am

University of Toledo art alumna and artist, Leslie Adams, will present an exhibition and lecture at the UT Center for the Visual Arts. The exhibition, The Handwritten Dreams Project, is open June 1 through July 7. The lecture on her work will be held Friday, June 1 from 5-6 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Little Theatre. The TMA is adjacent to the CVA. A reception will follow the lecture from 6-8 p.m. in the CVA Main Gallery.

The reception on June 1 will also celebrate two other exhibits happening in the CVA. The first is a presentation of work created by artist educator, Amy Pollman and her students, which will be displayed in the hallways and courtyard of the CVA. Amy is a 2018 UT Master of Art Education graduate and her exhibit will be a site-specific installation at the CVA. The Clement Gallery of the CVA will feature an exhibit by artist Ella Musher-Eizenman (June 14-July 7). Dear, :Love is an exhibition exploring the duality of one’s introspection and interpersonal relationships, through the act of writing letters.

About Handwritten Dreams

Drawing is my first love, but I’m infatuated with cursive - with signatures, poetry, and long letters from friends - anything written in one’s own hand. And, I love dreams. I love the dreamers of dreams. A self-portrait, Handwritten Dreams celebrates the hopes and aspirations that we, as children and adults, universally share. It is a drawing, installation, and interactive work that provides the space and time where viewers can pause, reflect, and write their own dreams on paper. Each then pins their hopes to an endlessly growing “wall of dreams” in the symbolically staged 1970’s classroom that I remember as a child. For as a young school girl I was taught to be curious, inspired to dream, and encouraged to record my dreams in perfect penmanship. It made them real. I am so fortunate that my dream of becoming an artist came true, and my goal as an artist is to inspire others to believe in possibility. Reflecting on the great cursive debate confronting today’s society, Handwritten Dreams seamlessly marries the elegance and beauty of line found in both cursive and drawing with the very marks that are the expressions of our individuality and pure imagination.

-Leslie Adams

The History and Future of Handwritten Dreams

In the fall of 2016, Handwritten Dreams was presented at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan as part of ArtPrize Eight. Over nineteen days, 196,000 visitors to the museum viewed the work and approximately 50,000 people - of all ages - recorded their hopes, dreams and aspirations. Through the beauty of line - from nearly indecipherable scribbles to precise manuscript writing and elegant cursive – individuals conveyed their dreams for themselves, their families, and for our world. Subsequently, we are given a time capsule of our current culture. Because, the dreams echo our lives. They anticipate our future.

My passion and vision is that the wall of dreams continues to grow. In April, a portion of the project was presented at the Portrait Society of America’s International Art of the Portrait Conference and more dreams were collected. I am grateful to the Center for the Visual Arts for inviting me to share the installation. Thus, before The Handwritten Dreams Project travels to other venues throughout the world, I invite you to contribute to the work by taking a moment to share your handwritten dream.

-Leslie Adams

About the Artist Leslie Adams

As part of her development as an artist, Leslie writes, "As a child, the Toledo Museum of Art was my playground. Within its walls, amongst its impressive collection and exceptional treasures, I was given the rare and extraordinary privilege of beginning my formal art education. It was the Museum that opened my eyes to a world of appreciation for fine art. Like many children before and since, I spent countless hours in the galleries creating memories that continue to influence my life and work. I was introduced to and challenged, at an early age, to study great masterpieces. I was taught to be curious. I was encouraged to dream." Indeed, Ms. Adams followed her dream and in 1990 won the International Collegiate Competition in Figurative Drawing, sponsored by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. She was awarded the Grand Prize, a full tuition scholarship, which enabled her to attend the prestigious New York Academy of Art.

Since earning her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy, Ms. Adams has established herself as an eminent Ohio artist. She has been commissioned to paint more than a dozen official portraits for the State of Ohio. In addition to painting the most recent official gubernatorial portraits, she has portrayed many leaders of the Ohio State Senate, House of Representatives and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Leslie has also received commissions from respected universities, corporations, and institutions throughout the United States. The recent years have characterized a significant turning point in Adams' already successful career. Her major solo exhibition, Leslie Adams, Drawn from Life, part of the Toledo Museum of Art's 2012 Fall Season of Portraiture, was a dream come true and received both critical and public acclaim. As the exhibition was drawing to a close, greater recognition was soon to follow. Adams was one of only forty-eight artists in the United States whose work was selected for inclusion in the celebrated 2013 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. That same year, her work, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl, was awarded the William F. Draper Grand Prize in the Portrait Society of America's 15th Annual International Portrait Competition - their highest honor bestowed upon an artist and the first of its kind given to a drawing.

Paintings and drawings by Leslie Adams are consistently included and garner awards in prestigious national and international group exhibitions. Her work was part of a groundbreaking exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art, Inspiring Figures, an Exhibit Celebrating American Women in Figurative Art. This collection of works explored the distinctive influence of female artists and their continued importance in the development of American figurative art and portraiture. As well as the above-mentioned recognition, Adams works have received a multitude of awards from institutions including the Art Renewal Center, the National Arts Club, and American Society of Portrait Artists Foundation. Also of note, Ms. Adams has been honored for her numerous civic contributions. Previously recognized as a Distinguished Citizen of Ohio by the Ohio Senate 123rd General Assembly, Leslie, as a 2014 YWCA Milestones Honoree in the Arts, received proclamations from, among other civic institutions, the Ohio Governor's office, the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, and the United States Congress.

Throughout her life, Leslie has worked tirelessly to inspire the hearts and minds of children to pursue their dreams. Her upcoming solo exhibition, Leslie Adams, The Measure of a Life, at the Butler Institute of American Art, celebrates the hope, aspirations, and dreams within each of us. Although always concentrating on exciting new works and projects, including a book on the life of Willa B. Brown with the author, Rhonda Sewell, Leslie continues to welcome both public and private commissions. Today, Leslie Adams has gained prominence amongst contemporary figurative artists. She has devoted her entire career to observing, interpreting and portraying the human figure through art. Her arrestingly conceived narrative portraiture captures the essence of her subjects by revealing both the attributes and complexities of their individual character, and the universal transcendent dignity and beauty of life and the human condition.

 



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