My work stems from patterns and traces of growth and decay in the natural world and the built environment. At an early age I saw electron micrographs and lab specimens, and I am still engrossed by abstracted images of nature. I am invested in the hand-drawn line for its conveyance of individualism, imperfection, and fragility, and I see my use of line as a tenuous analogy to traditional Asian ink painting. In my paintings, drawings, and site-specific installations, I strive to delineate the emotional resonance that I see in forms made by natural forces.
In some works, I draw masses of lines that evoke various influences: organic forms like hair, muscles, and fungi; natural systems such as waves and wind currents; geological strata; and topographical maps. In other works, I use hand-drawn lines to interpret records of physical effects of nature in my immediate surroundings—like a bent window plane, or the decaying walls in my former studio. My process includes making tracings and rubbings of surfaces like plywood and cracking plaster, and I think of these marks as the calligraphic and quotidian signatures of the effects of nature. Resulting from impersonal forces, such as water and gravity, these marks record the residue of growth, change, and decay in ceilings, walls, and floors. I consider my works some personal interpretations of the material evidence of time.
About Deanna Lee
Deanna Lee was born in Carmel, New York, to parents who emigrated from China and Taiwan, and she was raised in suburban Boston. After many years of classical music training on several instruments, she received degrees in art from Oberlin College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she studied at the Rome campus of the Tyler School of Art.
She has had solo exhibitions at Robert Henry Contemporary, Wave Hill, and PS122 in New York City; Earlville Opera House, New York; and Artemisia Gallery, Chicago. Her work has appeared in group shows at numerous venues, including: The Drawing Center, Abrons Art Center, NURTUREart, Trestle Projects, Pace University, and Schema Projects in New York City; Aron Packer Gallery, Hyde Park Art Center, and Jan Cicero Gallery in Chicago; SPACES in Cleveland; Maloney Gallery, Morristown, New Jersey; and George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Deanna’s public art works include a 700-foot-long mural on bicycle path barriers in Flushing, Queens, commissioned by the NYC Department of Transportation; a custom design for tree guards in the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn; and a site-specific drawing installation for a storefront window in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
She has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a travel grant from the Asia Society in New York, the BRIC Media Fellowship in Brooklyn, the Manhattan Graphics Center Scholarship, the Linda Kramer Fellowship in Chicago, and two grants from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. She was a 2010 recipient of a Abbey Mural Fellowship from the National Academy. In 2004, she was an artist-in-residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts, and she was a 2012 artist-in-residence at Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. In August 2017, she will be an artist-in-residence at Kingsbrae Gardens in New Brunswick, Canada.
Deanna lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.