Leslie Shows
Two Ways to Organize, 2006

Leslie Shows reinvigorates the practice of landscape painting with large, materially rich pieces that reflect a vast continuum of geological and human change. Through broad gestures and intricate details, she articulates a world in which we are but fleeting specks.

Two Ways to Organize suggests both the big bang paradigm of energy explosion and a look back at today from a distant future. A variety of found images appear within ribbons of acrylic paint, rust, and mud. Little paint splotches and collaged cutouts recall particles organizing themselves into the beginning of the universe, while residue of present-day hobbyists shows up in gridded needlepoint patterns, which stand in for crystalline structures. The surface also bears several small faux-metal scrapbook labels, which ordinarily serve as organizing tools for hypothetical memories. In Shows’s composition they are trapped in amber, made into archaeological relics of contemporary middle America.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Two Ways to Organize
Artist name
Leslie Shows
Date created
acrylic, charcoal, metal, mud, rust, and collage on panel
82 in. x 82 in. (208.28 cm x 208.28 cm)
Date Acquired
Collection SFMOMA
James and Eileen Ludwig Fund purchase
© Leslie Shows
Permanent URL
Artwork Status
On view on floor 2 as part of Art of California: Greater Than the Sum.

Audio Guide

Shows explains how the big bang theory inspired this work

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