Ann Schlesinger is a painter in the Washington, D.C. area. She received her BA in Studio Art and Art History from the University of Virginia, her MFA in Painting from American University, and did postgraduate study at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Munich, Germany.
Schlesinger has been the recipient of a Fulbright grant in Painting, the Annette Kade Fine Arts Fellowship, the David Lloyd Kreeger Award, and the Art Prize from the University of Virginia.
She has taught at several schools in the area including American University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution Resident Associate Program.
After spending twelve years in Prague, Czech Republic, she returned to the DC area with her husband Pepi Lustig and their family.
Currently, Schlesinger teaches drawing and painting at Northern Virginia Community College.
CV available upon request
THE PERPETUAL SEARCH
What excites me most in painting is the process of searching. I play around with the composition - pushing things up and down, left and right, blowing them up and shrinking them back, changing the angle of my view, altering color and texture… until everything feels as if it’s exactly right. There is a constant push and pull. It’s intuitive and analytical at the same time.
In these paintings, one can see the remnants of that search with bits of line, color and texture peeping out, the remains of a search that continues until I have a sense that everything is in balance, and what I was looking for is captured. Although it is representational, it is really about abstract relationships.
There are struggles: line vs. form, movement vs. solidity, clutter vs. space, realism vs. abstraction. As I work on a painting, the search is continuous, with many changes from start to finish. These paintings are about space and spacing. The precise placement of objects within the composition, and how they relate to each other and to the frame is paramount. And what exactly does finished mean? For me, it means that all parts work with each other, and that there is enough there to convey form, movement and a sense of space.
FRUIT AND DRAPERY – TRADITIONAL SUBJECT MATTER?
I have a joke which started several years ago:
When people ask me what I paint, and I don’t want to have a conversation, I drop my voice, try my best to look meek and mild, and in the most boring, pathetic voice possible, mumble, “Fruit and drapery.”
If I do want to have a conversation, I exclaim with eyes wide open and bubbling over with enthusiasm: “Fruit and Drapery! Have you ever really looked at fruit? The color, the form – it’s so exciting, even erotic… I see why it has been painted for centuries!”
End of joke.
Fruit – How can you not be seduced by it? It is so alluring with its rich, saturated color, its fecund form, and its powerful suggestion of the life force. It is a painter’s dream.
Drapery – Not only expressive and beautiful, but an active protagonist in the emotional and compositional drama of a painting.
What drives my work is the back-and-forth interplay between what I actually see (representational reality) and how it translates abstractly on a two-dimensional surface. I push paint around the canvas, seeing what happens when I move objects and alter my view. I play around with color, space and light, and constantly make changes from the original impetus of the painting… and always, abstraction, the trump card, triumphs.