Sensazione: A Self-Portrait

Drawing is my first love. I always return to it. Drawing is the primal mode of visual communication. “A man [draws] with his brain and not with his hands.” Reflecting upon Michelangelo’s profound statement following my alarming minor stroke in 2009, I was forced to take pause, inspired to create a self-portrait, and compelled to question. What is self? How does the brain relate to who we are, consciousness, and the soul? What is the connection between the brain, hand, and eye and our understanding of our selves and our existence in the universe? As a visual artist, the fear of losing the function of thought, physical dexterity, or sight was magnified. I addressed these issues in an image produced with the most basic of drawing materials: charcoal. I confronted my fears by creating this work with the inherent simplicity, elegance, power, and beauty of black and white.

Of my work in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Exhibition, Mary Sherriff, the W.R. Kenan, Jr. distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, writes, “…two artists take on the past quite directly. In Sensazione: A Self-Portrait, Leslie Adams positions herself between the past and the present, drawing on the longstanding convention of showing oneself at the easel surrounded by symbolic objects…Adams raises self-portraiture to allegory and manifesto, claiming a relation between art and science as intellectual, image-making activities that engage senses, brains, and hands.” 


Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Exhibition
The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio; Toledo Area Artists, 93rd Annual Artists Exhibition
Krasl Art Center, St. Joseph, Michigan; Focus on the Figure 
Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery, Columbus, Ohio; Here’s Looking at You, Portraits by Ohio Artists
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize 2010


Solo Exhibition Award, 93rd Annual Artists Exhibition, The Toledo Museum of Art
The National League of American Pen Women Award, 93rd Annual Artists Exhibition, The Toledo Museum of Art
First Place Award, 93rd Annual Artists Exhibition, The Toledo Museum of Art 
Honorable Mention, International Members Only International Competition, Portrait Society of America