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SLO Museum of Art Presents | Leslie Sutcliffe: Mementos of Six Millennia

Oct 6 2023 – Jan 29 2024 2023
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
1010 Broad St.


This installation consists of ninety-six panels, of varying sizes any number of which can be assembled and reassembled in a multitude of ways. Initially, the individual panels were inspired by the rich visual imagery in Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium. This grew to include images from found sources like newspapers, encyclopedias or the Internet. The wood panels are drawn, painted and screen-printed. The panels exist as discrete entities that build sequentially to create meaning in the way words in a sentence or pages in a book create a narrative. But if the panels were pages of a book, they would be unbound and could be rearranged or discarded. Within this work is the potential to physically choose and arrange panels in a way that creates meaning for the viewer that is independent of the artist’s intentions. Someone arranging the panels can use all of them or just a few, leaving the remainder on shelves installed in the corner of the gallery.

The ability to create personal meaning is inherent in all works of art – often viewers find a connection to an artwork that is unrelated to the artist’s intent. This body of work by artist Leslie Sutcliffe plays with this truth and engages the viewer in an active dialogue. Each month of this exhibition, a student or group of students will be invited to rearrange the panels, creating new meaning and connections between the images and ideas present.

About the Artist

Leslie Sutcliffe is an emeritus art professor from Cuesta College where she taught printmaking and modern art history for 27 years. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and currently lives on the Central Coast of California. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The University of California at Irvine and California State University, Fullerton. Selected exhibitions of her work include The New York Public Library, The University of Minnesota at Morris, California State University Dominguez Hills, and The Brand Library in Glendale, California. Her artwork and an essay were included in AGNI, a literary magazine published by Boston College.