The female body plays a central role in Leslie Fry's art. Fry revises representations of female bodies that have been controlled throughout history with visions of strength. In all of Fry's work, she starts with basic human needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and touch. Fry's imagery articulates connections between the natural world and the constructed world. Over the course of a 48-year career, Fry's art has ranged from intimate drawings to public sculptures to street performances.
Currently, Fry work between photography, sculpture, and collage. She places cut-out paper figures in the woods, leaves, and other natural spaces, and photograph the interventions. Many of the female figures drawn from Early Renaissance paintings seem at home in their new environments, which contrast culture and nature.
Recent fabric works are painted ink-wash onto tablecloths, handkerchiefs, and napkins – domestic objects from spaces traditionally dominated by women. Though she works with many materials, Fry favors traditional modeling and casting for sculpture. In her series of cast resin sculptures, Supports, stacked table legs with gendered shoes evoke balance, holding together, and falling apart.
Fry's commissioned sculptures respond to a given site. She aims to juxtapose images from our collective unconscious within a public space. Her large bronze, Colossal AcornHead, commissioned by Tufts University, longs to be a real acorn – released from its surreal state of artistic abstraction and to return to nature. The sculpture points to human consciousness rooted in nature – that our “heads” and the earth are inseparable and symbiotic.
Fry's sculptures and works on paper have been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries such as Kunsthaus in Hamburg, Zwitscher Machine Gallery in Berlin, Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul, Windspiel Galerie in Vienna, Couvent des Cordeliers in Paris, Artists Space and Wave Hill in New York, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum near Boston, and Centre des Arts Visuels in Montreal.
Public sculptures have been commissioned in New York, South Korea, Montreal, Florida, Wisconsin, and Vermont. Public collections include Tufts University, Songchu International Sculpture Park, Freehand New York, Kohler Arts Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Fleming Museum of Art, Musée d’art de Joliette, and St. Petersburg, Florida’s Museum of Fine Arts.
Born in Montreal, Fry grew up in Vermont, and lives in Winooski. She received her M.F.A. from Bard College, and her B.A. from the University of Vermont, with a Foundation year at the Central School of Art in London.
#1 My hands reach, touch, and shape.
Hands let go and receive; they try to hold things and to hold things together. Some of my images of hands are derived from Mannerist paintings by Parmigianino and Caravaggio, and are ink-washed onto vintage tablecloths, handkerchiefs, and napkins – domestic objects traditionally dominated by women. An ongoing series of small sculptures combine elegant female hands with aberrant “cuffs” of gnarly organic shapes. This exploration of hands is in part a need to grasp onto something and find foundation in uncertain times.
#2 I revise representations of women that have been controlled throughout history with visions of strength. Hands have been a focus in my 2-dimensional work and sculpture for years. My hands reach, touch, and shape. Hands let go and receive; they try to hold things and to hold things together.