Bodyscapes Solo Show

Woodstock Art Association and Museum

Bodyscapes Solo Show

Unison Art Center, New Paltz, NY

Single Panel Paintings

I began painting these single-panel paintings after months of drawing. The bed clothes or counterpane soon evolved into a metaphor for hills and valleys of a landscape. I soon reinforced the landscape metaphor in some of these paintings with a sky; in others I left the interpretation to the viewer. I continue to explore ideas in this single-panel format. These paintings range in size from very small, 9 x 12 inches, to quite large, 48 x 64 inches. All are painted in oil on either cotton or linen canvas.

Multi-Panel Paintings

I had two objectives for these pieces. The first, a practical consideration, was to be able to work large scale and yet to transport them more easily, that is by car rather than truck. The second was the aesthetic consideration of the placement of the multiple panels. If I didn't line up the physical edges of each same-size panel, one to the next, or didn't always use the same panel proportions in the same direction, the viewer would be drawn to the space created by the unmatched edges. The viewer then might also be engaged by visually completing the missing parts of the image. These works range in size from small, 20 x 48 inches (each panel is 18 x 24 inches), to large, 60 x 132 inches (each panel is 36 x 48 inches). All are painted in oil on linen and are either diptychs (2 panels) or triptychs (3 panels).

Shaped Paintings

Traditionally a frame functions to separate a painting from its environment. In this series, I consider the frame of a painting as an integral part of it. In these, the landscape is less apparent as I zoom in closeup on the folds and drapery of the fabric. All are either oil on linen or cotton canvas and mixed mediums on a plywood base and are in two sizes. The smaller are approximately 20 x 18 x 2 inches deep; the larger are approximately 38 x 30 x 2 inches deep.

Works on Paper

When I felt I had exhausted my exploration of another body of work, I looked through former pieces and came upon some drawings and silkscreen prints I had done years before. I saw some undeveloped ideas that I could now explore. So these former works supplied the impetus for the entire Bodyscapes series. The drawings in color pencil began the present series and developed the visual idea of bedding as a landscape metaphor. These pieces are either hand-pulled silkscreen prints or drawings. Update: As of 2018, I've returned to working on paper: a multi-medium, exploratory series called "Resting." Each piece begins with a silkscreen of one or two colors, which ties the series together. Enjoy!

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Published Criticism of the Artist's Work

Recently on display . . ., Joan Lesikin’s Bodyscape paintings catch the eye with their brilliant color, their stripes of yellow, pinks, orange and green . . . but these are no popsicles for immediate gratification. Once captured, the eye Lesikin paints for sees the landscape below the bright surface and questions arise. Because the artist is on a serious hunt for the ground we walk on. She drapes it in gorgeous colors, like the hills in fall . . . only in cloth not leaves.”n. . . n “But Lesikin is after even bigger game because the landscape also stands in for human’s favorite subject [the human form].”n . . . “She is an artist, that is, who means to provoke as well as please.”nn“Hinting At The Mysteries Beneath: Joan Lesikin of Cragsmoor Finds Her Oeuvre”nn-- by Chris Rowley

Shawangunk Journal, (2013, May 9) p. 10

Joan Lesikin's paintings . . . , Bodyscapes, seem solidly representational at first glance. They depict colorful swaths of cloth in mounded shapes fronting cloud-filled or subtly neutral backgrounds. They are reminiscent of the mountains we make of our legs under bedclothes, a mix of fantasy and real life beauties.nnAnd yet the color spectrum she works with, as well as her methodology and breaking up of her images into diptychs and triptychs of oddly matches canvases reveals a deeper, conceptual underpinning to all Lesikin does. It raises the bar on her work and, in some newer pieces involving gold-paint backgrounds, seems headed towards a whole world of combined surface beauty and self-conscious commentary on Art with a capital A that is not only exciting, but also possibly profitable...given the nature of the contemporary art world.” nnDisrupting the commomplace” [sic] by Paul Smart

Woodstock Times (2009, June 25) p. 26

. . . This exhibition of oil paintings and works on paper reflects the artist’s sensual, textured and beautifully considered subject matter. Influenced by the works of the artists Duchamp, Magritte and Man Ray, she combines figurative and landscape forms while focusing on color relationships. Lesikin has mastered many media, and has developed a visceral, tactile and emotional—yet intellectual—imagery. Landscapes in oil at Douglas Gallery

Wallkill Valley Times (2005, March 30) p. 12