Leslie Graff

Leslie Graff, "On Her Mind (Nice Girl From Boston)," 2021, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 72 inches, $12,000
Leslie Graff, "On Her Mind (Nice Girl from Boston)," 2021, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 72 inches, $12,000



The intention of my domestic series is to spark discussion and ask questions of the viewer.

I use midcentury “domestic artifacts” to intentionally blur the historical context. How does the meaning or context shift when anchored in different decades? I want the pieces to be open enough to represent a multitude of narratives simultaneously, even ones that are entirely contradictory, as a way to explore the complex tensions faced by women and give voice to their unique experiences.


I crop the figures deliberately. By obscuring the identity of the woman, as well as her feelings and thoughts, she retains the ultimate power of disclosure. I like to focus on the action or task, often as a metaphor, and title each piece with a phrase, always loaded with a double meaning. The series plays with the reductionism and tension between sexuality and female identity. My themes focus on emotional presence, attachment, perception, cultural assumptions, constraints, connection, voice, and personal power. These are universal elements of human experience and have relevance even as the particulars of context shift over time. 


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This series seeks to spark dialogue on topics ranging from gender inequity, opportunity disparity, body image, identity, resource allocation, emotional labor, cultural demand, and resiliency. I use homemade baked goods as an object through which to explore the individual psycho-emotional experience. I employ this domestic art, traditionally associated with women, to explore human experience and ongoing cultural evolutions. To create this series, each cake is made from scratch, staged, often using mid-century domestic artifacts, and photographed in my kitchen. While these foods may appear sentimental, appealing, or comforting, the curious titles invite engagement on a deeper metaphorical level exposing more complicated issues.