Midtown Raleigh News

July 30, 2014

Visual artist Leslie Vigeant tackles themes of the self

Visual artist Leslie Vigeant tackles themes of the self in “Self Digestion,” a featured exhibit at Artspace during First Friday this month.

Earlier in her career, visual artist Leslie Vigeant thought she had to develop a style that anyone would instantly recognize as her own.

Along the way though, Vigeant decided she wouldn’t be limited by that expectation, and she’s moved toward new methods of creating.

In “Self Digestion,” a new exhibit at Artspace, Vigeant explores themes of multiplicity and femininity and of the digital versus traditional, in a series of large-scale watercolors marked by repetition and self-portraiture.

But she’s also made use of everything from industrial chalk to string to video to captivate her audience.

“You know what the commonality is? Me. I made it,” she said.

Vigeant, an Oregon-based artist, has called a studio at Artspace home for the past month as the gallery’s summer artist-in-residence. She’s taught classes for teenagers and adults, while getting to know local artists.

“It’s been really nice having that community,” she said.

During her residency, Vigeant has explored working on a large scale and continued a shift from oil painting to watercolors.

In her oils, Vigeant had a fondness for transparency that often left viewers wondering just what medium they were seeing.

Now, heavily pooled paint and crisp lines have created a similar ambiguity in her watercolors, which also retain an organic quality.

It’s a tension Vigeant loves to play with as she searches for the “a-ha!” moments in her work.

As she experiments though, Vigeant said always is thinking through what each decision will mean and justifying each step she takes.

She’s careful not to talk herself out of risks though, by relying on the perspective of other artists and her own experience.

“That’s when community comes in and trust in yourself, to say, ‘I can do this.’”

“Self Digestion” runs from Friday through Sept. 6 and will be featured during the First Friday gallery walks in both August and September.

Artspace is at 201 E. Davie St.

Find more of Vigeant’s work at leslievigeant.com.

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