WSCC to feature Manistee native’s art

June 10, 2013

laskeyVICTORY TWP. – Artist and designer Leslie J. Laskey will be featured in a retrospective exhibit of his artwork beginning June 14, in West Shore Community College’s Manierre Dawson Gallery.

Laskey is Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he trained generations of students in a career spanning five decades.

Born in Manistee County’s Eastlake in 1921, Laskey served in the U.S. Army during World War II, in a combat engineering unit that landed on Omaha Beach early on D-Day.

After the war, Laskey studied at the Institute of Design in Chicago (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) with the founder and American Bauhaus pioneer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. He then taught for three years at the School of Design at the University of North Carolina in Raleigh, during which time he was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation grant for work in graphic arts at Indiana University.

Laskey came to Washington’s University’s School of Architecture in 1956 as an assistant professor and was made associate professor in 1958. Dean Joseph Passonneau, who once described Laskey as “one of the two or three best teachers of design in the world,” charged him with developing architecture’s best design program and “sealed my fate with a tenure appointment,” as Laskey would recall in 1961.

Laskey was named full professor in 1963. He received the Washington University Distinguished Faculty Award in 1982. He was named professor emeritus in 1987, though he returned to the classroom as a lecturer in 1990, ’91 and ’97. In 1986, Laskey received a Distinguished Professor Award for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

Today, Laskey divides his time between St. Louis and his second home in Manistee. He remains a prolific artist and has displayed his prints and paintings at the Mark Pasek Gallery in New York as well as numerous St. Louis venues including the Sheldon Art Galleries, John Burroughs School’s Bonsack Gallery, St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, Left bank Books, Elliot Smith Contemporary Art, the Center of Contemporary Arts and the Columbia Foundation of St Louis.

On June 14, a brief presentation by the artist and the documentary film “Forty-Seven Views of Leslie Laskey” will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Center Stage Theater.

Directed and edited by Manistee native David Wild, the film intimately chronicles the life of Laskey over an 11-year period. Together with Cinematographer Lulu Gargiulo, the filmmakers spent countless hours to capture the artist in his everyday life of painting, cooking, walking his dog, entertaining friends, cutting and printing wood blocks and ultimately teaching the people around him to look at the world in new and different ways.

Following the film, a reception in Laskey’s honor will be held in the lobby adjacent to the gallery.

The exhibit will be on display through August 23 in the Manierre Dawson Gallery in the Arts and Science Center.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.

The Gallery is also open in the evening during performances and events at the Center Stage Theater.

 

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