PRESS RELEASE – Katherine Lee: The Brazil Series

Katherine Lee: The Brazil Series
June 19-July 19, 2009
Artist’s Reception: Friday, June 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO — Eight Modern is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Katherine Lee: The Brazil Series.

Katherine Lee’s paintings transform familiar settings — a motel patio, an airport tarmac — into scenes at once familiar yet unnerving. A deserted patio deteriorates in the sun and passenger planes stand abandoned on a runway. They are spaces of suspended action and endless possibility, unmanned but not abandoned. The work simultaneously evokes a sense of quiet comfort and bleak solitude. Lee leverages the dysfunction between the ideal of the natural landscape and the built environment.

In 2006, Lee spent a semester in Brazil studying art and language.  During her time abroad, she developed a distinct artistic practice and completed six paintings of Brazil, entitled “Exteriors.”

Lee’s process begins with the photographs she takes of her everyday surroundings.  She isolates elements from the photographs, combining them to create a unique composition, which references but does not replicate the actual landscape.  After applying a foundation of black spray paint to the paper, Lee uses red and blue transfer paper to trace the bones of her composition onto the surface.  She then skillfully and selectively paints in the outlined composition, leaving visible traces of the initial layout.

The artist describes her work in technical terms, referencing triangulation – the determination of a point in space based on three known coordinates – to define the conceptual center of her art. For Lee, those coordinates are traditional painting, media literacy and contemporary cultural signifiers.  While her work is far from message-driven, Lee describes much of her work as evoking “the uncomfortably unspoken implications of a society that so myopically views the significance of its surroundings.”

Lee has been featured as a young, up-and-coming artist in publications such as Smithsonian Magazine, which recognized her as one of several contemporary artists reinvigorating the art of painting by “reaching back to the roots of modern art to find new modes of expression.”

Lee was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1984, grew up in the rural Midwest and now lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She received her B.F.A. in 2008 from the College of Santa Fe.