Word Art by Leslie Nichols Focus of Exhibition
A solo exhibition featuring some of the works of Leslie Nichols is being featured in the University of Findlay’s Dudley and Mary Marks Lea Gallery in the Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion through Dec. 7.
Nichols uses a variety of found and original text to create images. She is well known for her works created on manual typewriters which are featured in “Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology,” and “The Art of Typewriting.” A recent Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women provided support for her to create large-scale portraits of women working for social change in Kentucky. Her studio is in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
A reception for the artist, which will include a presentation by Nichols, will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12 at the gallery.
Nichols’ use of typewriters and words is a feminist approach with a rhetorical purpose. “I use this early tool of secretaries to create images of women using a variety of appropriated and original texts,” she explains on her website at www.leslienicholsart.com. For instance, in her series Textual Portraits, she strives to capture historical context and social heritage.
“My work starts with an image of a contemporary woman, often a scholar, artist, or student who has made an impression on me,” Nichols notes. “I select a classic social text that has relevance to the woman’s life to create her image… I create portraits with text to emphasize the weight of words and to allude to the idea that our lives are the creations of our minds and social construction.”
Nichols earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts cum laude, specializing in painting, from Fontbonne University in Saint Louis, Missouri; a graduate certificate in gender and women’s studies from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky; and a Master of Arts in social responsibility and sustainable communities from Western Kentucky University. She has displayed works in more than 100 exhibitions and venues. Her experiments in letterpress printing were made possible by a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Studio Residency Grant from Women’s Studio Workshop, and her work has also been recognized with additional grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, the American Association of University Women and the Great Meadows Foundation.
Several of Nichols works exhibited at the University of Findlay are for sale. The Lea Gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.