Faith and the Devil
An installation by artist and McIlroy Professor Lesley Dill
March 3 – April 4, 2014
Reception: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 5pm in the Fine Arts Center Gallery
Lecture: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm in Stella Boyle Auditorium, FNAR
Faith & the Devil is a large-scale installation which investigates the philosophical and existential conundrums of evil and underlying faith in the world. The source and lynchpin for this investigation is Big Gal Faith, an eight-foot tall female figure centered in the gallery. Her wild word hair and lavish twenty-six foot wide dress of drawn images and words express the main themes of the exhibit: cruelty and violence, lust, forgiveness, reflection, and transcendence. Dill has worked with these themes across a decade of large-scale projects and exhibitions including a year-long community & museum project in Winston-Salem, N.C. called Tongues on Fire: Visions and Ecstasy, 2000-2001, followed by another year long project for a Boulder museum exhibition called Interviews with the Contemplative Mind. In 2008 she conceived, produced, and directed an opera based on the language of Emily Dickinson, Divide Light, performed in San Jose, CA. Most recently in New Orleans, fall 2010, at Arthur Roger Gallery Dill created an installation based on the life of Sister Gertrude Morgan, a street preacher, artist, and poet who worked in New Orleans during the sixties and seventies, called Hell Hell Hell/ Heaven Heaven Heaven: Encountering Sister Gertrude Morgan & Revelation. Dill states, “My theme of faith should in no way be mistaken for a kind of earnestness or naïve surrender. I believe the soul is huge, hungry and ravenous, and faith contains as much fear as optimism and crazy grace. I am drawn to explore these things, the big story.”
Lesley Dill works in sculpture, photography, and performance, using a variety of media and techniques to explore themes of language, the body, and transformational experience. Her work has been widely exhibited and collected and can be found in the collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Cleveland Museum of Art, Kemper Museum, Kansas City; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. Dill lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has received a Joan Mitchell grant, and NEA, a Rockefeller Multi-Arts Program grant, NYFA, and Anonymous Was a Woman. She is represented by the George Adams Gallery in NYC, and the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans.
The McIlroy Family Visiting Professorship in the Performing and Visual Arts was established in 2006 through the philanthropy of Hayden and Mary Joe McIlroy. The McIlroy Professorship endowment provides the university with resources to attract working professionals in the performing and visual arts to the campus. The Professorship was established to support the teaching and work of a professional artist who will impart to our students and community highly specialized knowledge valuable to their artistic, educational, and career enrichment. The grantee of the McIlroy Professorship will hold a joint appointment as a visiting professor of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and Walton Arts Center. The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the students and faculty of the University of Arkansas department of art are pleased to announce Lesley Dill as the 2014 McIlroy Professor.