Leigh Anne Lester: A Variety of Forms Recovering from Transubstantiated Clarity

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Leigh Anne Lester is the fifth artist to present work on the expansive entry wall in the McNay’s AT&T Lobby. For her year-long installation, A Variety of Forms Recovering from Transubstantiated Clarity, Lester premieres a monumental new assemblage that incorporates ideas and images of growing organic matter, a theme she has developed on a grand scale at the McNay. Lester’s interests span drawing, sculpture, and design, and also encompass the world of science, and in particular botany and genetic modification.

As the artist describes, “My work addresses the place between the genesis of genetic modification and its aftereffects. Genetic modification offers humans the resources and means to change the composition of species from the microscopic level to the macroscopic system; to change the composition of a species by deleting or adding an attribute to suit our own desires.”

Lester’s work alludes to the fact that there are unforeseen consequences to manipulating genetic structures, and she determines that “the possibilities are as exciting as they are frightening, yet there is beauty in the unknown.” Layering images derived from ferns, flowers, succulents, and weeds, she creates that beautiful unknown. The resulting mixed-media interpretation of newly synthesized plant species depicts a variety of flowers stemming from one stalk or from a single, unlikely root system.

Lester and René Paul Barilleaux, Chief Curator/Curator of Contemporary Art, discuss her installation as well as her interest in the paradoxes of genetic modification on September 22 at 6:30 pm in the Chiego Lecture Hall.

This exhibition was organized by the McNay Art Museum.

The Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment and the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions are generously funding this exhibition.