MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2019
Artist StatementBeing in tune with my surroundings can be both a blessing and curse. Sometimes it provides unending visual information to use in my work and sometimes it is simply overwhelming and paralyzing. Observing nature has a calming effect on my mind and so that is where I choose to spend most of my free time. The infinite colors of lichen on rocks, the back and forth flow of sea grass underwater, the reflective, metallic surface of mineral pools at Yellowstone all play an important roll in feeding my artistic sensibility. Careful observation is at the core of my practice. An appreciation for the complexities of the natural world drives my desire to work slowly and methodically, meditatively building one small element on top of another. The deliberate process of meticulously drawing and cutting everything by hand allows for a more intimate examination of the materials, which in turn draws me closer to the subject. Methodically pouring thin layers of paint and waiting for them to dry requires great patience and the opportunity for reflection. I start most of my work with observational drawing. I think of it as a kind of human camera recording the imagery in my brain. Once the observational drawings are complete, I then stop looking and start responding to the essence of my experience. How did it feel to be in the presence of the hot springs at Yellowstone? Not just how did it look, but how did it feel? This is where the more imaginative elements of the drawings come into play.
Updated November 2018
Leslie Shellow was born in Washington DC in 1969 and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She has exhibited in such venues as Vis Arts in Rockville MD, The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, the Silber Art Gallery at Goucher College, the National Institute of Health, Carroll Square Gallery in Washington DC, Arlington Arts Center and Greater Reston Art Center in Virginia. In February 2018, Leslie spent 4 weeks at the Jentel Artist Residency in Sheridan, Wyoming, which led to her most recent solo show at the Gibbs Street Gallery at Vis Arts in Rockville, MD through November 2018.
In 2017, Leslie was selected as a Baker Artist Award Finalist and in 2015, a Sondheim Prize Semi-finalist. In addition, she was awarded the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Works on Paper in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. She holds an MFA in Painting from Towson University, a BFA from The Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA in Education from the Evergreen State College.
Her work consists of ink drawing on panel and paper, oil painting on panel, bookmaking, printmaking and cut paper installation. Pulling her imagery from observations of nature, both in the visible world and through microscopes, Leslie addresses natural processes such as growth, decay and regeneration. Mold, lichen, corral, cells, viruses and bacteria are among the many natural elements that influence her work.
She currently teaches Drawing at the Maryland Institute College of Art and is a Gallery Assistant and Framer at Fleckenstein Gallery and Archival Framing.