Leslie Awender (Ah’ vender) is a Los Angeles-based visual artist who firmly believes in the metamorphic potential of debris. In her quest to liberate discarded objects from their familiar forms, she employs a variety of image-making equipment and techniques, ranging from photographs and photograms to tintypes and Polaroids.

After receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, Awender spent a year in Namibia teaching ESL and photographing the physical and cultural landscape of southern Africa. Upon returning to the US, she began her creative studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She then earned a Professional Certificate in Photography from the Maine Media Workshops and subsequently received the Juror’s Award at the Photo 99 National Juried Exhibition. She received the Elkind Fellowship and earned her Master of Fine Arts from Mills College in Oakland, California. She was awarded an Artist Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, where she produced the critically acclaimed series Virginia Red Earth. Her work has been published in The Photo Review, and photographs from her Chinese Lantern series have been chosen as an Official Selection at the International Photography Awards.


Tidepool Triptych, 2004.

Past shows include Photo LA XX; Medienkunstmesse (Media Art Fair) and Contemporary Art Ruhr in Essen, Germany; Image/Project, the Arlington Art Center’s National Photo and Video Show; and the all-sculpture show Hanging Gardens, where she exhibited her living sculpture, Two and a half, four and a half, six and a half.

Awender’s book Variations on Mira has been added to the Museum of Modern Art/Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection. Her works are included in numerous private collections throughout the United States.

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