Leslie Roberts’ paintings investigate ephemeral language and geometric abstraction. They contain handwritten lists, diagrammed into highly chromatic color structures. These panels are illuminated lexicons of 21st century life. The words in Roberts’ paintings are collections of everyday language from street signs, email, user agreements, packaging, text messages, news reports, and other ambient sources. From the relentless flow of information surrounding us, Roberts collects words to use as the DNA for generative forms. Each panel is a slate, on which penciled and inked text and notations accompany geometric configurations of acrylic gouache paint. She prints columns of letters, and codes them into corresponding columns and rows of painted geometry. In some paintings the same text is coded in more than one way. Different visual elements—color, mark, shape, division—yield tiled structures, linear networks, and other visual systems.
Leslie Roberts was born in North Carolina and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has shown her work for over three decades at spaces including: the Brooklyn Museum; Davidson Gallery; Hallwalls; McKenzie Fine Art; Pierogi Gallery; PPOW; Tiger Strikes Asteroid NY; and the Weatherspoon Art Museum. She is represented by Minus Space in Brooklyn, where she had a solo show in 2019. Her work has been discussed in print and online in Artforum, the Brooklyn Rail, the James Kalm Report, Two Coats of Paint, and other publications. She has been an artist in residence at Ragdale, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Yaddo, and Skowhegan. Roberts holds a BA from Yale, an MFA from Queens College, CUNY, and attended the New York Studio School. She is a professor at Pratt Institute.