Lesli Robertson (Highland Village, Texas)
May 17 - June 14
(May 17 - June 14)
Reception for the Artist, May 17, 6 – 8 PM
“Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to work with communities to express ideas and individuality through the development of artworks and creative projects both in the US and Uganda. The textiles and cultural arts I have researched have further exhibited to me the power of textiles as a tool for communication, a tool to record and speak about the individual, society, and the hand of the maker. In 2006, I began studying the textile arts of Uganda, subsequently working with commissioned pieces of plaited palm and raffia baskets in my studio work. I began to fully embrace the work of the artisans’ hands, manipulating their creation into new forms and works. The fascination that someone else not only touched, but created the piece I held enabled me to find a great value in it beyond its physical properties. This initial exploration led me to develop new projects with the goal of inviting the community to be integral parts in the making of an artwork.
In a project with the Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art, I worked on designing and developing an installation that engaged over 500 individuals in the making of an artwork. The resulting project continued to invite individuals to become a part of making by weaving on two wall sized looms in the Center. The result was surfaces that I could never have created on my own. I was able to see the creativity in each section of the weavings, noting the differences in how elements were handled by each person involved. I took the weavings into my studio and further respond as an artist to the surfaces created, the individuals involved and the ideas expressed.
Each step of the project in creating works has been very important as I respond as an artist. Handwritten text, woven elements, and the interaction with the participants have led me to see my role as artist is to not only explore my reality, but to give a place for others to express theirs.
For this exhibition, I propose to show several works that have resulted from community interactions alongside my personal recordings through concrete forms. In addition, I propose an interactive sculptural loom that will enable visitors to leave their mark, responding to the concept of the form while building the sculpture, one layer at a time. It will be through their effort that the piece is constructed and it will develop based on their interaction and the work of their hands. “
Lesli Robertson is a Senior Lecturer of Fibers at the University of North Texas. She actively exhibits her artwork while developing community programs and research links to the arts of Uganda. Recent community initiatives involved the Dallas Museum of Art and K Space Contemporary in Corpus Christi, Texas. Robertson received grants from the Dallas Museum of Art, the Surface Design Association, the Textile Society of America, and UNT Institute for the Advancement of the Arts supporting her artwork and research.