Merging prehistoric ferns, animal-eating flowers, desert succulents, and backyard weeds, San Antonio artist Leigh Anne Lester creates mixed-media versions of amalgamate plant species. Her detailed specimens resemble 18th century botanical illustrations, but exhibit disparate elements of flora in new synthesized arrangements: incongruent leaves and various flowers stem from one stalk and a single, unlikely root system. Recent work gleans information from past mutant species, mixing and stretching clips of foliage from other works into new layered drawings and cut-outs.
Lester was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and received her BFA at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Beautiful Freaks/Nature’s Bastards at the Southwest School of Art, San Antonio (2010); Artificial Arrangement at Conduit Gallery, Dallas (2006); and Untitled at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio (2006). Her work has also been included in The Future is Not What It Used to Be at Trinity University, San Antonio (2012); Wild Kingdom at Texas State University, San Marcos (2011); San Antonio Draws at the McNay Art Museum (2011); Biennial Southwest at the Albuquerque Museum of Art (2008); and Beneath the Skin at Limn Gallery, San Francisco (2007). Lester was awarded the Huntington Art Prize in 2011 for her drawing, Mutant Spectre (2010). She is the co-founder, co-owner, and co-curator of Cactus Bra Space gallery in San Antonio, and currently works at San Angel Folk Art Gallery.