Lesley Dill

b. 1950 in Bronxville, New York; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

Employing sculpture, performance, drawing, and photography along with quotes by literature great such as Emily Dickinson and Franz Kafka, American artist Lesley Dill probes the emotional power of language. “Language is a manifestation of the human need to reach out,” she explained. “As much as my work is about language, it’s also about what the image does to you, and how the two together make a whole.”

Using language as a mantra, the artist often pairs unorthodox materials such as horse hair with bronze figures and words, to create a visceral experience of language. Dill brought her exquisite style to Tamarind to create three-dimensional prints, incorporating cut paper, thread, text, and small objects to build images of raptured skeletons, a dramatic pleated skirt paired with a small bird, and scrolling fingers.

Dill studied English at Trinity College, before receiving a Masters in Teaching from Smith College, and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1980. Her works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Denver Art Museum; the Yale University Art Museum in New Haven; and the High Museum in Atlanta, among others. She has been the focus of two retrospective exhibitions, which traveled widely. Her awards include a sculpture fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

More Information

Artist website


Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Coyote in Quarantine, 2020


Judy Chicago, In Praise of Prarie Dogs, 2019


Hayal Pozanti, 8 (million tons of plastic that go into the sea each year), 2018, 2018


Tara Donovan, Untitled (2016).


Charles Arnoldi, Breaking, 2013


Enrique Martínez Celaya, The Optimists, 2014


Nick Cave, Amalgam (brown), 2015


James Siena, Sagging Infected Triangular Grid, 2012


Kiki Smith, Untitled, 2009