Lesley Thiel

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Imaginative RealismImaginative RealismImaginative RealismImaginative RealismImaginative RealismImaginative RealismImaginative RealismImaginative Realism
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Biography

Imaginative Realism

Lesley Thiel is an international award winning, figurative artist known for her highly detailed photorealistic paintings. Working in oils, her pieces focus on narrative portraiture and magical realism. Her paintings contain imagery designed to tell a story of the fate of our species and our relationship to the earth. They include feathers, flowers, and animals as a sign of hope for our collective future. They speak of the strength of the upcoming generation of young women and girls, who may well be our saviors. They question the accepted narrative of the female voice in society and the myths attached to this.

 

My work explores humanity and its relationship with the earth. The veils and collars  in which I dress my models represent the cultural rules that we consider immutable, but which are really often a result of whims, fashions, or negotiations. I want to convey that they will become irrelevant and be replaced, just as the accessories of the past have been discarded. The rules of the earth, on the other hand, are finely balanced, and breaking them has consequences. As our species continues to destroy the natural world, I want my work to remind us of what we face losing: the future of our children, and the bounty of nature. I ask that people see the beauty and complexity that surrounds us, and which is being destroyed. This is embodied in my work by the painting of the myriad details of nature, which I consider to be an act of reverence. At the same time, I want to offer hope in the form of the young women who will be our leaders and who will nurture our planet back to health.

I see a painting as a conversation in which the opening sentences are created by the artist. The goal of my efforts is to try and create work that suspends disbelief to the point that it slips effortlessly into communication. Beauty has a role to play in that exchange. Not the superficial appearance that we tend to associate with the word, but the accidental beauty of the turn of a head, a fleeting emotion playing across a face, or the grace of an unaffected gesture. Beauty has the capacity to open our souls and make us sharply aware of everything around us. It can transport us and yet keep us truly in the moment, longing to hold onto that emotional rush we feel. It allows us to create a zone of comfort in which we can discuss ideas and feelings, and how our world will change. It is my hope that it takes others on a journey in which they create their own conversation with my work.

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