Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 01

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 02

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 05

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 06

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 07

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 08

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 09

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 10

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 11

Lesley Dill
Faith & the Devil Installation View, 2011 - 2012
acrylic paint, oil pastel, silver leaf, gold leaf, mixed media on cotton panel
LDi 12

Lesley Dill
Show Poster
 

Lesley Dill
Show Poster (continued)

Press Release

Faith & the Devil is a large-scale installation which investigates the philosophical and existential conundrums of evil and underlying faith in the world. The source and lynchpin for this investigation is Big Gal Faith, an eight-foot tall female figure centered in the gallery. Her wild word hair and lavish twenty-six foot wide dress of drawn images and words express the main themes of the exhibit: cruelty and violence, lust, forgiveness, reflection, and transcendence. Big Gal Faith is accompanied by a word-covered androgynous figure representing Lucifer, with words of hate on his front and words of joy on his back.

The mural-size drawings behind Big Gal Faith and Lucifer, a dense forest of interlocking words and images stenciled on fabric, function as a theater backdrop.  The specific drawings are as follows:

-Zebra focuses on the neutral amorality of animals eating and killing other animals
-Horrible Words contains horrible words of catastrophe and cataclysm
-Small Queen of Cruelty and Dismemberment is from two stories told to a documentary journalist, Ed Robbins, in the South Sudan in 2010. One is about Moses Clement, a 15 year-old South Sudanese boy, who was kidnapped and tortured by the LRA.  The other story is told by Sister Giovanna in South Sudan about the mutilation of a Sudanese man.  
-River of Blood of Blinde Desire is a drawing about lust and craving, centered on a nude torso of a woman collaged in shades of black cloth and paper.
-Forgiveness is a large drawn and collaged female figure in a swirl of language that reflects the complex ambiguities of admission, remorse, regret, and forgiveness.
-REFUGE
-Thoughtful Man is an image of a man’s head, collaged with white painted paper, embedded in language of thoughtfulness and contemplation.
-Drunk with the Great Starry Void is a collaged image of a seated man from whom emanates a river of star shapes and language of rapture and transcendent discovery.
-Eaters and Eaten in the Radiant Garden of Sorrow and Rapture is a summation of the themes in the exhibit and represents the luminous and encompassing world of a battlefield of opposing and spiraling forces.

There are a number of roads I move along. I use the words of poets (Dickinson, Dante, Kafka, Milton, Neruda, Sleigh, Kner, Harwell, Donne, Espriu); the vernacular stories as told to me of visionary experience in North Carolina; the words of folk artist and preacher Sister Gertrude Morgan;  my own experiences from years of living in India as well as my childhood visionary experience; and as-told-to me stories from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Liberia. The language for this installation is collected from poets both historic and current and from transcripts given to me by a video journalist of his recent work in Liberia and South Sudan.

It has been a challenge to align the first hand stories of war and corruption with my investigation of spiritual life. The word “faith” is in itself a conflict. Inside it is a tension between equanimity and fear of horrors, whether from the outside world or the interior mental world.  Faith is an active word, as it requires a taking on of evil in an attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible. This project Faith & the Devil, is a walk through a person’s mind – encompassing a world in which unfathomable actions of dismemberment and cruelty co-exist with times of refection and illumination. My theme of faith should in no way be mistaken for a kind of earnestness or naïve surrender.  I believe the soul is huge, hungry and ravenous, and faith contains as much fear as optimism and crazy grace.  I am drawn to explore these things, the big story.

I have worked with these themes—cruelty, lust, forgiveness, transcendence, etc.—across a decade of large-scale projects and exhibitions. They include a year-long community & museum project in Winston-Salem, N.C. called Tongues on Fire: Visions and Ecstasy, 2000-2001, followed by another year long project for a Boulder museum exhibition called Interviews with the Contemplative Mind. In 2008 I conceived, produced, and directed an opera based on the language of Emily Dickinson, Divide Light, performed in San Jose, CA. Most recently in New Orleans, fall 2010, at Arthur Roger Gallery I created an installation based on the life of Sister Gertrude Morgan, a street preacher, artist, and poet who worked in New Orleans during the sixties and seventies, called Hell Hell Hell/ Heaven Heaven Heaven: Encountering Sister Gertrude Morgan & Revelation.


Exhibition Checklist

Wall 1 (Starting clockwise from the reception desk)
Horrible Words
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, silver leaf, gold leaf, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 138 inches

Text:
Are you glad to be dead Ralph?
Somebody’s watching little shit friends watch little shit
Him climb to the crown of the cherry tree
Woe woe woe
Hell evil war murder witch king suicide fear
Body parts flood catastrophe cataclysm fire
Famine carnage bloodshed slash gash
Attack your own insides with rage
I belch I spit I spue – No evil wants his goode
Cries of tortured shrillness writhing maggots the din of infinite pain
Fuck you stay away cosmic hole sucking
Rumor chance tumult confusion discord chaos havoc
Spoil ruin fear envy despair guilt shame perturbation
Nigh burst with sucked and gutted offal
Gonna kill you asshole shitbrain asshole shithead
Terrible knowledge like a big nerve growing
With my teeth clenched and my tongue pressed
Against the roof of my mouth I bear down
Constrained and crushed mind with mind


Wall 2
Drunk with the Great Starry Void
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, silver leaf, gold leaf, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 364 inches

Text:
First Star, clockwise starting at 11 o’clock:
I wheeled with the stars
The joy of life streamed with such ardent passion from his throat that for onlookers it was not easy to stand the shock of it
Human word syllable blended existence with electricity
The joy of life streamed from his throat
The flow of blood down his shirt showing up as a radiance you can’t turn away from or to
Ray

Second star, clockwise starting at 11 o’clock:
Intoxicated cuckoo
In a light that is fierce and strong one can see the world dissolve
Heat lightning flicking between head & heart & throat
And so he burst into flame… it’s like he cant help burning
Bright effluence of bright essence
Intoxicated cuckoo
Refulgent glory
Ecstasy behind ecstasy
A momentary vacuum in a light that is fierce and strong one can see the world
Where is that holy fire?
Thoughts my mindes creatures

Third Star, starting clockwise at 10 o’clock:
I had a daily bliss
And so he bursts into flame
Lightning was all our light
You won’t wipe away my joy
Refulgent glory
Electrical the embryo but we demand the flame
In mee the flame was never more alive
And so he bursts into flame it’s like he can’t help burning
Sustained thought with rapture & pleasure born of seclusion
The gullet of the seer
I had a daily bliss
Electrical the embryo but we demand the flame
Refulgent glory
You won’t wipe away my joy
In mee the flame was never more alive
Lightning was all our light
Exhilaration is within
I go berserk battering myself against brightness
Sustained thought with rapture & pleasure born of seclusion
The gullet of the seer
Would he ever know her soul? See her eyes were compound eyes with many souls inside?

Fourth Star, clockwise starting at 9 o’clock:
Sudden inner light
In the end- this uproar is only a suppressed restrained harmony which left free would fill me completely… could even widen me… still fill me
Elixiar like enquiring of that mystique
Yet in his darkness he is now aware of a radiance that streams from the gateway of the law
The flow of blood down his shirt showing up as radiance you can’t turn away from or to
I wheeled with the stars
The extaxie so let us melt and make no noise
Drunk with the great starry void
Bright effluence of bright essence
The joy of life streamed from his throat

Fifth star, clockwise starting at 9 o’clock:

Infinitesimal being drunk with the great starry void
Likeness- - mystery felt myself a part of the abyss-
I wheeled with the stars…
My heart broke loose in the wind
In a light that is fierce & strong one can see the world dissolve
Ecstasy behind ecstasy
The joy of life
Where is that holy fire?
Sudden inner light
Charged with a spectral shimmering
Ray
How the sun’s hot masculine flame begets strange creatures
Rays of knowledge illuminate gold & turquoise…
The king of aquamarine light
Rays of multicolored light radiating
Yet in his darkness he is now aware of a radiance that streams inextinguishably from the gateway of the law
Intoxicated cuckoo
Human word syllable blended existence with electricity
Refulgent glory
Exiliar like enquiring of that mystique
Imaginary peepholes of the imaginary kaleidoscope
And so he bursts into flame like he can’t help burning
And I…

Big Gal Faith
246 x 168 x 96 inches
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, thread, horse hair, silver leaf, gold leaf, and graphite on linen, mannequin, wood

Wall 3
Eaters and Eaten in the Radiant Garden of Sorrow and Rapture
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, silver leaf, gold leaf, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 215½ inches

Text:
Oilstick letters Center:
Look to me Faith
Rapture’s Germination
Ecstasy behind Ecstasy  
A Quintessence even from nothingness  
Bright effluence of Bright essence
I feel a haunted bliss that wants to last forever
Relaxing on the axis of the wheel of life
The embarrassment of wanting to pray to god
The demand that god give a good goddamn had made him pretty nutty
The veil of the usual torn open –  
A void through which you pass like rays streaming through a magnifying glass  
Mysteries dazzling
The spookiness of joy that comes over me so fitfully these days
The slut of nobody nothing & nowhere  
Such fatal buoyancy that blind Faith in our fear  
We  first have SOULE’s of Growth and Sense

Stamped Letters, from Center:
Bright effluence of Bright essence
Exiliar like Enquiring of that Mystique  
Bright effluence of Bright essence
Exiliarlike Enquiring of that Mystique Bright  
Haunted bliss that wants to last forever
Look to me faith
Beyond me afloat in the pure transparence
The spookiness of joy that comes over me so fitfully these days
Quintessence even from nothingness
I thought it some apostleship in mee to speak things by faith alone I see
Such fatal buoyancy that blind faith in our fear makes me walk on air
Bright action with Bright result
Mysteries dazzling
As if the soul were leaking out of us flammable  
There’s nothing but truth in him already
How long does it take a life to find its proper altitude
The veil of the usual torn open
A void through which you pass like rays streaming through a magnifying glass
Rapture’s germination
How luxurious to be the slut of nobody nothing nowhere
We first have soules of growth and sense and when our last soule  our soule immortal came
as if the soul were leaking out of us flammable as lighter fluid burning away all glamour but the glamour of the real
Now that you have come here do you like what you see? Are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Sad? Sick? Happy?
Mysteries dazzling
Ecstasy be  
I feel a haunted bliss that wants to last forever where one relaxes on the wheel of life’s axis  
I feel a haunted bliss that wants to last forever where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life  
Exiliar like Enquiring of that Mystique
Ecstasy behind ecstasy be
How long does it take a life to find its proper altitude and here it is beside me beyond me afloat in the pure transparence
Bright effluence of bright essence
Bright effluence of bright effluence of bright essence
Bright efflue
The way he can risk everything and risk nothing because there is truth in him already
The way he can risk everything and risk nothing because there is nothing
Unhoused wanderer

Wall 4
Zebra
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, silver leaf, gold leaf, thread, horse hair, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 165 inches

Text:
I couldn’t get my head clear of the zebra I’d seen killed by lions the day before
The zebra on its side striped legs jerking twitching
Jerking twitching

The beasts filled the woods avid and quick set their teeth and tore limbs away
The eaters and eaten are turned to dirt
I’m creature you stay away from me


Wall 5
Thoughtful Man
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, sequin, paper, silver leaf, gold leaf, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 145 inches
Thoughtful Man

Text:
Center text on man:
Manure thyself… to thy selfe be approved
He moved slowly--- turned his head slowly--- blinked slowly & when he spoke his voice mellowly resonant was languid and had the weight of stones… and it was at that age… poetry arrived in search of me… I don’t know where it came from… I don’t know how… or when… I was summoned… my eyes were blind- I was without a face… and something started in my soul
I have given my whole life to words chewed this dog hunger into a long meal---
the fat man sat quiet

Main Text:
He moved slowly … turned his head slowly… blinked slowly & when he spoke his voice mellowly resonant was languid & had the weight of stones
And it was at that age that poetry arrived in search of me… I don’t know where it came from… I don’t know how or when I was summoned. My eyes were blind- I was without a face and something started in my soul
And though the words kept piling up nothing ever felt right- - - felt like it measured up to my myth of wanting life to be not just a hero’s life… but a hero’s slave making constant submission to his fate
For me the story line hovers just above my head in a gnat-like humming stinging density of a life both mine & not mine
I have given my whole life to words- chewed this dog hunger into a long meal
Manure thyself – to thy selfe be approved.
The fat man sat quiet.


Wall 6
Forgiveness
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, silver leaf, gold leaf, thread, horse hair, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 145 inches

Text:
Left side:
Forgive us our sins for destroying our country for killing innocent people oh Lord for killing one another
How free myself without being torn to pieces
The soul leaking out flammable
Justice urged my higher artificer

Above head:
Change me heal me make me other than I am

Right side:
Rescue- - sorrow’s hospice sent hither
Effort of bone anger splintered into grace
Renunciation is a piercing virtue

Left sides intestines stamped:
Kamma forgiveness mercy kamma exoneration grace reconciliation mercy forgiveness grace mercy exoneration kamma forgiveness mercy reconciliation exoneration grace forgiveness kamma mercy exoneration reconciliation mercy grace exoneration kamma forgiveness mercy reconciliation grace exoneration forgiveness kamma mercy reconciliation grace kamma mercy exoneration forgiveness grace reconciliation kamma grace mercy

Right Side intestines:
My heart shall not fear though war should rise against me…
The old poet said to me… if whoever wounded you had also made you who you are and to forgive them meant to erase yourself
A theorem: forgiveness doesn’t exist
The old poet said to me: if whoever wounded you had also made you who you are and to forgive them meant to erase yourself
Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama Khama

Wall 7
Small Queen of Cruelty and Dismemberment
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, silver leaf, gold leaf, thread, horse hair, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 135 ½ inches

Text:
Kill the calm
Left side:
Moses Clement 15 year Old South Sudan boy as told to E.R. 2010
"We were in a deep sleep
men appeared and took us they hurt me everywhere
there was no place they didn't hurt me
a LRA man (Lord's resistance army) beat my cousin wilson and crushed his head open
in my whole life I'd never seen anyone killed
my entire body was shaking my hair felt like it was burning
I was crying and trembling
he stabbed my with his bayonet
They dragged me like a dog
I watched them killing men women children
This little girl she was 7 or 8 years old  They ordered me "Kill her!"
I said I can't
They said kill her or we kill you
I had to do what could I do
After killing the girl my mind went completely blank
I didn't even know who I was
I am asking anyone please pray to make it end"

Right side:
Sudan village story. (2010) South Sudan man
"We started walking and began to find things all along the trail first we found his hand - - they'd cut it off
We found his ears cut off then they cut off his lips they had cut off his arms
First one and then the other they cut off his head, his feet everything. Scattered

Sister Giovanna, missionary
The LRA killed 2000, mostly young women and children
This the devil. Why? What is the reason?
Some mothers were asked to pound their baby - pounding - to crush their babies
How can you everyday in your life thinking
People being slaughtered
Children being crushed
Women being raped
We cannot just think of our own small garden
We have to think also of the bigger one
That is the world now"

Wall 8
Refuge
oil pastel, silver leaf, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 249 inches

Lucifer
oil paint on mannequin, glass, and wood
15 x 15 x 60 ¾ inches

Text:
Front of head and torso:
Hell witchking war murder famine blood slash gash rage pain evil attack kill ruin tumult woe woe woe fuck you asshole maggot body parts

Front of legs:
Flood carnage suicide shitbrain shithead woe woe woe fire fear evil torture confusion despair guilt gutted teeth clenched tongue pressed crushed constrained famine belch spit catastrophe spue

Back of legs:
Rapture body light thrill justice mercy hope lust sex bliss thrill him light hope justice bliss lust hope thrill

Left arm:
Belch rumor famine cries infinite pain murder sucked gutted kill asshole spit

Right arm:
Spit witch fuck you spue maggot rumor attack confusion tongue body parts terrible fear

Back of head and torso:
Dazzle justice ecstasy sex mercy light bliss luminous particles dazzle ecstasy bliss

Wall 9
River of Blood of Blinde Desire
oil pastel, acrylic paint, oil paint, paper, silk, silver leaf, gold leaf, thread, horse hair, and graphite on linen panel
124 x 125 inches

Text:
Left Side:
There are days the whole world gets down on all 4’s bodies longing to be fucked into oblivion-
To grow electrical & crackle with a sexual shock
In rank & itchie lust
Love desire--- extaxie

Right Side:
David going hot all over with rush of blood to vital strategic points; his nerve centers raged & his mind was a reek of violent spermy images.
If I could only see you naked once-
To satisfy the sharpe desire-
My husband of electricity
Panties sliding to her knees
May I understand a mind affected by lust and a mind unaffected by lust? ---
Ardour devotion perserverance

Bottom:
Thy nakedness & bareness to enjoy is the danger what is the escape in sensual pleasure