When art does a good job, . . . it makes the world less lonely,” says Leslie Whyte Graff (BS ’96, MS ’01). “It makes it more meaningful.” The Massachusetts artist’s paintings transform many of the facets of her life—as an educator, a specialist who helps kids dealing with grief and trauma, a woman, and a mother—into questions, tensions, and connections.
Many of her generation-spanning images depict women performing domestic tasks. Society today “sees domestic work as something to be avoided, and so people become unhappy—not because the tasks are inherently unmeaningful, but because we hear the message, ‘You shouldn’t like this,’” she notes. “If we connect ourselves to our tasks rather than removing ourselves from them and see that work more holistically, they can become powerful tasks, affirming and defining.”
Graff’s work is very intentional. “I want people to feel deeper connection and feel understood,” she says. “We all have this need to be known, to know that somebody else experiences what we go through and knows what we know or appreciates what it is to be us.”
See more of Graff’s work at lesliegraff.com.