Leslie Barlow is an artist living and working in Minneapolis, MN. Barlow is interested in examining and reimagining our relationships to our racial identities through decolonizing and healing our collective understanding of belonging and what it means to be family. Her oil paintings and mixed material pieces share stories through the figure and portraiture exploring issues of multiculturalism, identity, representation, trauma and race. She investigates these through the use of the personal; often creating works depicting family, friends, people in her community, and personal experiences, to reflect the subtle and not-so-subtle integrations of these issues into individual lives and relationships. Barlow received her BFA in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin- Stout and her MFA in 2016 from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Leslie Barlow has received great recognition from her home state of Minnesota. In 2019 she was awarded both the McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship and the 20/20 Springboard Fellowship. She appeared in the season 7 television segment of tpt's Minnesota Original, airing April 2016, was published in the "Best New Art 2016" list in Minnesota Monthly Magazine, and was published as "Artist of the Year" for 2016 in the City Pages. In both 2018 and 2016 Barlow received the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and in 2018 she received the Minnesota Museum of American Art Purchase Award in the Minnesota State Fair Juried Exhibition for a large oil painting from her Loving series.
Barlow is a member of Creatives After Curfew, a decentralized collective of BIPOC/Queer artists & allies who mobilized during the Mpls uprisings in June 2020 to share resources, skills and knowledge as a contribution to the movement. Creatives After Curfew is an evolving collaboration between Minneapolis artists co-create art to soothe, remember, build & imagine a future rooted in justice + liberation.