Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me brings together 16 influential figures from America’s past in a striking exhibition featuring sculptures and two-dimensional works by renowned Brooklyn-based artist Lesley Dill.

Dill creates larger-than-life sculptures of American visionaries, including abolitionists Sojourner Truth, Dred Scott, and John Brown; authors Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Emily Dickinson; Sauk leader Black Hawk; Shaker religion founder Mother Ann Lee; and others.

The prose and poetry of each of these progressive thinkers is emblazoned on painted and hand-sewn clothing of large effigies and banners expressing how each visionary figure navigated the wilderness of their day with voices raised in response to the troubled and chaotic times they faced. 

Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me was organized by the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa, and is made possible by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About Lesley Dill
Lesley Dill is an American artist working at the intersection of language and fine art in printmaking, sculpture, installation and performance, exploring the power of words to cloak and reveal the psyche. Dill transforms the emotions within the writings of Emily Dickinson, Salvador Espriu, Tom Sleigh, Franz Kafka, and Rainer Maria Rilke, among others, into works of paper, wire, horsehair, foil, bronze and music—works that awaken the viewer to the physical intimacy and power of language itself. 

Dill has had over one hundred solo exhibitions. Her artworks are in the collections of many major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 2017 she was named a fellow of The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and is a Joan Mitchell Foundation Creating A Living Legacy artist and grant recipient. Her opera, “Divide Light,” which she based on the poems of Emily Dickinson, premiered in San Jose in 2008 and was re-staged in 2018 by the New Camerata Opera Company in New York City. This performance was captured in a full-length film by Ed Robbins and honored as an Official Selection of the Art FIFA Film Festival 2021 in Montreal. 

Dill was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Museum’s 2019 Tell it Slant Award and is a featured essayist and cover artist for the 2022 Oxford Handbook of Emily Dickinson. In 2021, the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa was the first of 6 venues to present Dill’s exhibition Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me, which amplifies voices of the North American past as they wrestle with divinity, deviltry, and freedom. The artist is represented by Nohra Haime Gallery in New York and Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans. Lesley Dill lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Thank you to exhibition sponsors; Steven and Dorian Critelli in honor of Delores Y. Critelli and Alan and Linda Vincent.


Thursday, October 20 | 5 to 7 pm
Location: Root Sculpture Court

FREE for Members and PrattMWP Students | $10 General Admission

Join us for the opening reception and celebration of Lesley Dill, Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me, and be the first to preview this exciting new exhibition. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and an artist appearance by Lesley Dill.

October 20 at 4 pm Easton Pribble Visiting Lecture Artist Talk with Lesley Dill

Lesley Dill | Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me
Museum of Art
Saturday, October 22, 2022 - Sunday, January 29, 2023 10:00 am
Price: $0.00 / Member Price: