Lee Lee

Lee Lee attained her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and has spent time in over 40 countries. These experiences have led her to develop a wide range of painting styles in response to the diverse conditions of our world. Her work is informed by several movements through art history including the feminine expressionist drawings of Kathe Kolwitz and the actions of the 1970s which embraced such processes as using a shotgun or fire. Rich textures developed through destructive means speak to socio political situations imposed on people as well as environmental degradation. Sensitive mark making atop of these textures explores the emotional textures within a community, emphasizing resilience in the face of adversity. Recently, strong environmental themes have entered into her repertoire as she recognizes that social and political stress is driven by the scarcity of our resources.


Resilience as a theme grew from the opportunity to curate an exhibition in regards to Genocide for the Mizel Museum which was developed into an installation for the 7th Biennial International Conference of Genocide Scholars in Sarajevo, Bosnia, for which she also presented her discourse on genocide and visual representation. This presentation was also featured at the Art & Social Justice conference in St Louis. Other international exhibitions have included an installation of prints at the Instituto Allende in Mexico and paintings exploring the imprint of tradition in contemporary Vietnamese culture at the Metropolitan Center in Saigon, Vietnam.


Recent environmental exhibitions have included REAP: The Environmental Unsustainability of the American Food Machine at C Emerson Fine Art in St Petersburg, FL, Extinction at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and Vanishing Pollinators as part of the Bioneers Conference on Sustainability in San Raphael, CA. Resilience in the face of environmental degradation was explored through an series of work, Guatemala: Mayan Women, created for the 2010 Biennial of the Americas in Denver, and on view during the Mayan New Year at the Dairy Center in Boulder in 2012.


Currently, Lee Lee is using plastic as a material to explore the impacts of plastic on the environment as well as the chemical imprints left in our bodies. Complimenting this theme is work being created which follows the development of a permaculture installation around her Taos, NM studio. The small scale production of food will be presented in contrast to industrial agricultural practice, which like plastic, is exacting a tremendous toll on the environment. Her permaculture garden as well as the work which grows from it will be featured as part of ISEA2012: Machine Wilderness. The educational watercolors may be found at www.TalesOfThatcherGray.com

Lee Lee - Rain

Rain - Oil Refinery in Commerce City

Lee Lee - oil refinery

Oil Refinery, Commerce City: oil, polymer transfer & melted plastic silkscreen on paper

Lee Lee - Ghost

Ghost: Abandoned Slaughterhouse in Commerce City. The state of decay of this structure reflects the unsustainable nature of our food system. Watercolor, pencil & tar on shotgunned collage

Lee Lee - Bleed

Bleed - oil & sharpie on shotgunned plywood - this work came from the frightening images of aspen trees in CO suffering from a cancerous virus which make them appear corporeal...as if they are bleeding as they release their red sap

Lee Lee - Materialism

Materialism - oil on canvas. Because of winters which are not cold enough, hundreds of thousands of acres of forest simply died through the Rocky Mountains. Whole mountainsides were adorned with the rust colored mantle of dead trees.

Lee Lee - Voices of the Rio Grande

Voices of the Rio Grande - water based media - New Mexico hosts one of the highest concentrations of breeding birds in North America, according to the Nature Conservancy. This series is based on local birds who live or migrate through Northern New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley. The backgrounds of the paintings, while organically textured, are whited out to represent the constant environmental threats we face here in the high desert.

Lee Lee - Wire

Wire - polymer transfer & oil on melted plastic silkscreen - Vietnam

Lee Lee - Texas Roadkill

Texas Roadkill: Tar & graphite on paper

Lee Lee - Guatemala

Resillience in the face of environmental degredation: the Maya. Starting with stone lithographs of lush forest, these mixed media works on paper were truck-tracked with fresh tar, then torn into small squares. They serve as a foundation that speaks to the situation imposed on the Maya: pushed off their land and treated like slaves on plantation style agricultural production facilities owned by multinational corporations. They fill US demands for cheap commodities which comes at a severe cost to both people and the environment. The texture of tar is an echo of the continuing destructive influence of these corporations. Tar is made from oil which also makes up the petrochemicals used in the style of agriculture that is decimating the environment. Somehow, Mayan culture is not decimated. They maintain an incredible dedication to tradition, working in harmony with the environment. Ancient customs are manifested through the colorful and intricate weavings which are worn with pride. These portraits are of Mayan women from the highlands market in Chichicastenango. Exploring a wide range of human emotion from being weary and hurt to looking forward with hope, the vignettes are intended to explore the breadth and range of emotional textures in this community.

Permaculture - Lee Lee

Building solutions: Permaculture


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  • Artist Info

    • Denver, CO
      US - Mountain

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