I Heard a Voice 2001

Lesley Dill, I Heard a Voice, 2001; Museum Purchase: Members' Acquisition Fund; © Lesley Dill, courtesy of George Adams Gallery, New York

Through her art, Lesley Dill considers the ways body, language, and the spiritual world intersect. She often references literature, especially the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

I Heard a Voice relates instead to a vision the artist had at age 14. While looking out her bedroom window at dark leaves against the sky, she says, “I was given to understand the world…I understood that there was a pattern threaded through all things.”

In this wall sculpture, a profusion of leaves soars upward from the index finger of a small hand at floor level. Each leaf bears one word of the sentence “I heard a voice.” Dill arranged the leaves so that the words appear in ascending order, and viewers' eyes move up the wall, reading the full sentence repeatedly.

The leaves appear fragile, but are actually crafted of a durable manufactured material, Tyvek. Delicate threads hanging from the leaves catch the merest movement of air, much as tree leaves shift in the breeze. Though grounded in the artist’s autobiography, this work is pervaded with imagery related to touching, hearing, nature, and spirit, which invites individual reflection.