States Of Being

Leslie Wayne

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Leslie Wayne (b. 1953 in Landstühl, Germany; lives and works in New York, NY) explores the many ways a painting can imply all the functions, desires and associations we have for the world around us by transporting you through its artifice. She uses both trompe l’oeil and verisimilitude to explore the range of possibilities for the representation of an illusion in a multitude of ways, while still remaining undeniably within the confines of a traditional painting.

Easily moving between abstraction and representation, Wayne uses the tactile quality of paint in her abstractions to evoke geology and the forces of nature, approaching her subject matter through visual manifestations of physical forces like compression, subduction and morphogenesis. In her more representational work, Wayne explores portals and thresholds, and the mundane objects of her daily life, shaping her panels to act as stand-ins for the objects they represent.

In two recent bodies of work, Wayne has taken on the concept of nature and memory through different approaches. One is a series of large vertical abstract plank shaped paintings based on the nature of nature – its forms, shapes, colors and behaviors. The large expansive verticality of these paintings presents a performative experience caught in freeze frame, as the downward movement of the gesture and the paint suggest that all is still very much in motion. The other is a series of aerial landscape paintings in frames the artist designed after the classic Boeing 737 window, based on photographs she took on a flight to the West Coast in 2021. They are illusionistic and romantic, smalland intimate. In this post-truth environment, they also conjure up deep questions about the American landscape and its mythologies.

Wayne grew up in Southern California and studied visual arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She took a year off to live and work in Paris, and five years to live in Israel before moving to New York where she earned her BFA with honors in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design. She was an early member of 55 Mercer, one of New York’s first artist run cooperatives in SoHo, and following her second solo show there, joined Jack Shainman Gallery.

Wayne has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad and her work is in numerous public collections, including the Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; la ColeccionJumex, Mexico City; Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy; the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum Smithsonian Library, NYC; The Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, FL; the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, OR; the Davis Museum of Art, Wellesley, MA; the Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE; and the Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY, among others. 

Throughout her career she has received awards and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2017), Joan Mitchell Foundation (2012), New York Foundation for the Arts (2018, 2006), Buhl Foundation for abstract photography (2004), New York State Council on the Arts Projects Residency (1993), Yaddo Artists Residency (1992), the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation (1994) and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1985). In 2017 she was awarded a commission from the New York CityMTA Arts and Design program to create windows for the Bay Parkway Station subway platform on the Culver (F) line in Brooklyn, NY.

Besides being a visual artist, Wayne is also an occasional curator and writer and her reviews and interviews with artists have been published in BOMB, artcritical and Two Coats of Paint.


Leslie Wayne: This Land
20th Street, Jun 04 – Aug 02, 2024
Stressed World
The School, Jun 05 – Dec 03, 2022
Leslie Wayne: The Universe is on the Inside
May 20 – Jul 07, 2021
Leslie Wayne: What's Inside
20th Street, Feb 22 – Mar 30, 2019
The School, May 20 – Oct 06, 2018
Leslie Wayne: Free Experience
Sep 07 – Oct 21, 2017
Status Quo
The School, Jan 31 – Apr 12, 2015
Mise En Scène
The School, Aug 01 – Dec 01, 2014
The Shape Of Things
20th Street, Jun 05 – Jul 25, 2014
Feb 20 – Mar 22, 2014
One Big Love
20th Street, May 27 – Jul 16, 2010
Trouble In Paradise
20th Street, Feb 09 – Mar 10, 2007
20th Street, Jun 29 – Jul 28, 2006