Leslie Pontz’s work deals with topics such as community, conflict, and growth by applying the vocabulary of textiles to materials not commonly associated with the medium. Rusted tools find a home with soft woven pieces while metal is crocheted like yarn. These surprising juxtapositions of materials makes categorizing Pontz’s work difficult; it is sculpture, it is fabric, it is installation.

Her work also, in many cases, invites participation from its viewers. Whether following a meditative journey proscribed by Pontz in and around her work, or by literally rearranging portions of her sculptural pieces, viewers are both invited to be shaped by Pontz’s work and shape it themselves. The story of Pontz’s own life, that of her community, and visitors to the Museum will be woven together in the exhibition by participation, conversation, and collaboration.

Artist Statement:

I remember thinking on my first visit to the desert how glorious it was with its grayed colors and hard shapes and soft sand and prickly textures. There were so many contrasts in this quiet world of sand and lizards. Yet from the very first moment that I experienced this environment, it seemed so peaceful, full of shapes and textures that did not seem to go together but definitely wanted to live together. Since that time I have continued to be intrigued with exploring the juxtaposition of contrasting elements that are far more exciting existing together than independently. By combining materials like crocheted metal, silk organza, thread, and rusted industrial elements, I am able to explore this concept of co-existing contrasts that constantly reminds me that life itself presents an array of conflicts that always need balancing.

The rawness of my finished work is an integral part of the artistic statement. It is a statement that stretches the boundaries of “shoulds” and “should nots,” of perfection and imperfection. I find it very invigorating to work without pre-set boundaries and rules, because that gives me an energy that I believe transfers to the “canvas” as I push the materials around until the finished piece emerges. Working with this kind of an open mindset also provides me with a sense of freedom. There is no such thing as a mistake, and that is a wonderful freedom.

Leslie Pontz: Integration is generously supported by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., and Virginia W. Sigety, cabi Fashion Stylist.

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