Weatherspoon reflects on sin, morality

Photo courtesy of the Weatherspoon Art Gallery

Photo courtesy of the Weatherspoon Art Gallery

By Chris Nafekh, Staff Writer

Published in print Sept. 17, 2014

On Saturday, the Weatherspoon Art Museum presented visiting artist Lesley Dill’s visual art exhibit “Faith and The Devil.”

In her most recent display, Dill delves into philosophical questions of religion, human nature and suffering.  Adopting the roles of sculptor, painter, photographer and performer, she expresses some of mankind’s deepest emotions.  Addressing a worldwide dilemma between faith and morality, her art forms a powerful, dramatic narrative.

Inside the room, every wall was a mural.  At first glance it looked chaotic. Various words in different fonts, colors and sizes covered the room, merging with expressive shadows and menacing shapes.  Spiraling stories of destruction, and shining stars of disarrayed text portrayed powerful emotions.

The pictures contrast each other.  Renaissance style images you would see in The Vatican are combined with pictures akin to Dante’s Inferno.  The demonic outlines and menacing shadows add a terrible feeling of morbidity and mortality.

But there is an order; for each depiction told a different story, addressing different themes of human nature.  Avarice, gluttony, lust and envy were few among many emotions addressed.

Language taken from poets such as Emily Dickenson and Dante, who have touched on these subjects in the past, help communicate a grim complexity of morality.  True stories of atrocities in South Sudan bring conflict with the bright beauty of faith-filled transcendence, the discovery of rapture and immorality.

At the center stood a sculpture of a women in a dress title “Big Gal Faith”. Representing human thought and emotive confliction, her dress consists of strands of thoughts which run through the minds of sinners and saints.  Behind her stands an asexual figure, “Lucifer”, who has words of violence and aggression painted on his front.  On his back, there are words of joy.

Lesley Dill is part of the Weatherspoon’s “Falk Visiting Artist” series. This series has featured artists such as Carroll Dunham, Lynda Benglis, Dario Robleto, Julie Hefernan and Dike Blair.

The program was introduced in 1982 and gives students and community members a chance to meet and learn from active professional artists.

Dill’s work has been featured across the nation, including the Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She received bachelor’s degrees from Trinity College in 1972 and obtained an MFA in 1980 from the Maryland Institute of Art.

As an artist, she is involved with several community projects.  In 2001, her art could be seen throughout Winston-Salem on billboards. Emotive phrases gave an added darkness to the city: “Small visions change me, change who I am, change who I want to be.”

Her studio offers internships for young artists – especially for the “talented, cheerful, peaceful and hard working.”

For more information, visit the Weatherspoon’s website or

She will be holding an artist talk today, Wednesday September 17th, at 4:00 pm, which will be open to all UNCG students, staff and faculty.  Her exhibition can be seen at Weatherspoon currently and until December 7th.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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