In 1921, the madcap Franco-American nonesuch Marcel Duchamp and American painter/photographer Man Ray launched the journal New York Dada, sublime Dutch geometer Piet Mondrian gifted posterity with the oil-on-canvas Lozenge Composition With Yellow, Black, Blue, Red and Grey – and in southwestern Michigan, Leslie Laskey was born.
Laskey (a professor emeritus of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, where he taught for 35 years) may well rank as the metro area’s dean of visual artists, not only because he remains a vital part of the community but also because, from his home studio in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood, he continues to create. Indeed, through May 29, Clayton’s revered Bruno David Gallery is displaying new works of his in an exhibition titled “Then & Now,” which opened March 27.
Ladue News, which profiled the professor in 2017, recently solicited brief tributes to Laskey from select admirers. Their responses follow:
“The professor par excellence
who teaches everything
who lights the path in so many ways
continuous friend and adviser.”
– Alan Appel, student from 1958 to today, 1964 Wash U graduate (with a bachelor’s degree in architecture)
“Always referred to as ‘Laskey’ when I was in architecture school at Washington University, Leslie was a force then as he is still today. He taught us that design is a way of life, not just something you study in school. It’s how you live and entertain, how you look at your surroundings and how you interact with others. Knowing Leslie has been one of the greatest formative experiences of my life.” – Angelyn Chandler, 1989 Wash U graduate (with a bachelor’s degree in architecture)
“There are many reasons why I’ve chosen to exhibit Leslie Laskey’s work for the last 15 years. It’s a long list, but one or two reasons are his amazing talent and dedication to his studio practice and to the work of others – he sees every exhibition at least twice. Laskey is a great inspiration to younger artists as an example of someone who has dedicated his life to the arts.” – Bruno L. David, BDG namesake and director
“Lesley Laskey continues to amaze me with his dedication to his work and his ability to remain present and actively involved in the St. Louis arts community.” – Chris Kahler, BDG artist
“I marvel at Leslie Laskey. Every time I have met up with him, he exudes a lust for life that is rare to find. He’s a gift to our planet with his incredible joy for people and for art. His work fills me with joy. My wife and I are lucky to know him and count him as a friend. (She wanted to make sure he knows she admires him, too.)” – James Austin Murray, BDG artist
“Leslie Laskey’s carefully choreographed installation at Bruno David Gallery aligns – for the most part – with the 20th-century pioneers of abstract painting. While this exhibition also occasionally offers representational depictions that range from red-and-white candy swirls to porcelain doll heads, all of Laskey’s painted, collaged and printed works are infused with a playful lyricism that never fails to delight.” – Patricia Olynyk, BDG artist
Bruno David Gallery, 7513 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, 314-696-2377, brunodavidgallery