Artist, Teacher, Curator, Writer. Born in England in 1945. Arrived in Australia in 1969 with a National Diploma in Design (NDD) London, and Post Graduate Art Teacher’s Diploma (ATD) University of Liverpool. Lesley’s practice is driven predominately by a deep appreciation of, and respect for, the Australian landscape, particularly the intricate detail and pattern found in nature. However, she remains aware of man’s interaction with, and intervention in the landscape. Unlike many artists, each of her 27 solo exhibitions has been unique, taking on a different area of enquiry, be it place, concept or narrative.
Her practice over the last 40 years reveals a vast range of skills: virtuosity and versatility both in technique and image-making, and a constantly-shifting focus between abstract and representational elements. Whilst her usual medium is painting, she has always sewn, and intermittently combines painting, textiles, stitching and recycled materials to create both 2D and 3D works.
Lesley Meaney has also participated in numerous group shows in Australia and overseas. She is represented in many public and private collections, has won numerous awards and is documented in a number of significant Australian art publications. Lesley, a pioneer of the theme exhibition in the 1980’s in Western Australia, was the Artist in Residence at the Holmes à Court Gallery in 2009. Lesley is not only an established artist: she has held senior lecturing positions in Western Australia, including teaching indigenous artists based at Cossack in the North West Pilbara region. She has also run Summer School and Extension classes at the University of Western Australia.
In 2012, Lesley completed her much awaited 80sqm studio– complete with swing! This, as well as her property in Yallingup, is where it all happens. As for her future practice, she states “I cannot predict what I will be creating in a decade, next year or even next week. Past works are merely prologue – like a line in a poem or cadence in music”.
Outside the studio, Lesley has been involved in a number of sports. She represented Australia in Hockey in the early 1970’s and was the first woman to swim solo across the Rottnest Channel. She has been a life-member of the Rottnest Channel Swim Association for a number of years, and in 2018 was inducted into its Hall of Fame. She claims that the discipline required for competitive physical activity not only keeps her fit but helps keep her grounded. She adds that either walking in the Australian bush, or swimming, is her church, and that many of her more successful artworks are conceived whilst swimming or being on her own in the bush.